Snap blocks anonymous messaging apps YOLO and LMK amid lawsuit over Oregon teen suicide

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Snap has suspended messaging apps YOLO and LMK after an Oregon mother sued them for the suicide of her 16-year-old son, who was abused by anonymous bullies for months.

The social media platform announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily removing the third-party apps “ from an abundance of caution ” as it investigates security concerns.

The move came a day after Kristin Bride filed a federal lawsuit against Snap, Yolo and LMK, claiming the apps were partially responsible for driving her son Carson to suicide.

Carson committed suicide on June 23 after months of cyberbullying via Yolo and LMK, including sexual comments and taunts about a time he passed out at school.

The lawsuit, filed in California, alleges that the executives of the tech companies are putting “ profits above the mental health of young people, ” violated consumer protection law by failing to comply with their own terms of service and policies, and that the apps should be considered “ dangerous. ” . Products. ‘

Snap has suspended messaging apps YOLO and LMK after an Oregon mother sued them for the suicide of her 16-year-old son, who was abused by anonymous bullies for months.  In the photo Carson Bride, who committed suicide in June

Snap has suspended messaging apps YOLO and LMK after an Oregon mother sued them for the suicide of her 16-year-old son, who was abused by anonymous bullies for months. In the photo Carson Bride, who committed suicide in June

With YOLO and LMK, users can ask each other questions anonymously.

They are not owned by Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app, but the two apps do rely on the Snap Kit.

Snap Kit is a set of tools launched by Snapchat in 2018 that allows smaller developers and businesses to leverage their network. The apps then exist as a third-party app on Snapchat.

Yolo – which stands for ‘you only live once’ – was one of the first apps built via Snap Kit in 2019 and became an instant hit with young social media users.

Snap announced in a statement Tuesday the suspension of the apps.

“ In light of the serious allegations raised by the lawsuit, and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the Snapchat community, we are suspending both Yolo and LMK’s Snap Kit integrations while investigating these allegations, ” said one spokesman.

The lawsuit called on Snap to immediately ban Yolo and LMK from its platform, as well as other apps that offer no safeguards against cyberbullying, the Los Angeles Times.

Carson had just finished his sophomore year of high school in Portland, Oregon, when he hanged himself last June.

His family later learned that he was the target of bullies on Yolo.

The cyber bullies constantly teased the teen who called him a virgin, saying they printed out his photo to throw arrows at.

Snap announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily removing third-party apps 'from an abundance of caution' as it investigates security concerns

Snap announced on Tuesday that it is temporarily removing third-party apps ‘from an abundance of caution’ as it investigates security concerns

Yolo app

LMK app

Kristin Bride filed a federal lawsuit against Snap, Yolo (left) and LMK (right) on Monday, claiming the apps are partially responsible for driving her son to suicide

WHAT ARE YOLO AND LMK?

YOLO and LMK are social media messaging apps that allow users to anonymously send each other questions.

Yolo – which stands for ‘you only live once’ – became an instant hit with young social media users after its launch in 2019.

By February 2020, the company had raised $ 8 million.

Yolo and LMK are not owned by Snap, the company behind the Snapchat app, but the two apps do rely on the Snap Kit.

Snap Kit is a set of tools launched by Snapchat in 2018 that allows smaller developers and businesses to leverage their network.

The apps then exist as a third-party app on Snapchat.

Yolo was one of the first apps built with Snap Kit.

The messages were “intended to humiliate him, often with sexually explicit and disturbing content,” the lawsuit said.

But because users can be anonymous with the app, Carson couldn’t determine who the culprits were.

He was also unable to reply to the messages because, according to the app’s features, a reply would automatically make the original message public, which would have brought him even more humiliation.

His family later found out that he was looking for people’s real identities in the anonymous messaging app.

His last online search the morning he died was “Reveal Yolo Username Online.”

“The high school students who anonymously bullied Carson will face this tragedy for the rest of their lives,” Bride said in a statement.

However, it is the executives at Snapchat, Yolo and LMK who irresponsibly spend profits on the mental health of young people who should ultimately be held accountable.

The lawsuit alleges that Snap, Yolo and LMK violated consumer protection law by failing to comply with their own terms of service and policies.

Both Yolo and LMK claim to have a zero-tolerance policy towards offensive content, while Snap claims it reviews all of its third-party apps and removes any apps that violate its harassment and bullying policies.

The lawsuit alleges that Yolo breached those obligations by allowing Carson to suffer months of online abuse.

YOLO (above) and LMK allow users to send each other questions anonymously.  They are not owned by Snap, but exist as third-party apps on Snapchat after being built with Snap Kit

YOLO (above) and LMK allow users to send each other questions anonymously. They are not owned by Snap, but exist as third-party apps on Snapchat after being built with Snap Kit

Carson’s mother claims the company subsequently ignored her emails when contacting the company after her son’s suicide.

The lawsuit alleges that LMK and Snap have also failed to adhere to their own policies.

The lawsuit also alleges that the apps facilitate bullying to such an extent that they should be considered dangerous products.

It points to research linking anonymous harassment and teen suicide.

The bride brought the lawsuit together with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by the family of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide in 2010 after being bullied online.

They want to represent all users of Snapchat, Yolo, and LMK as a class – approximately 93 million US users, 90 percent of whom are between 13 and 24 years old.

The lawsuit is seeking damages for the alleged damages and misrepresentations.

It comes as part of a wave of efforts to hold social media companies accountable for content on their platforms.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s free 24-hour hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)

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