Sand Springs mom, Rebekah Brown, is joining a lawsuit against Snapchat after her son, Cole Brown, overdosed on fentanyl that he purchased through the app.
The 13-year-old boy was found unresponsive in a California hotel room. He was found the same day that he and his family were planning to move and start a new chapter of their lives.
After his death, Rebekah moved to Sand Springs with the family, and is now joining 63 other families in suing the app. Her goal in the lawsuit is to save lives and educate other parents about the dangers that lurk on Snapchat.
The lawsuit, which was filed by the Social Media Victims Law Center, alleges that the product design of Snapchat created a dangerous environment for drug dealers. They allege that the app’s operations allow a “Snapchat Drug Cartel” to operate in a manner that directly contributed to the deaths of nine minors and young adults accross the U.S.
They all died after taking Fentanyl-laced pills and/or edibles purchased from Snapchat-connected dealers.
As alleged by the lawsuit, Snapchat’s disappearing messages, “My Eyes Only” and “Snap Map” features, as well as other Snapchat features, help to facilitate illegal and deadly drug sales to minors and young adults containing deadly doses of Fentanyl.
Additionally, Snapchat provides drug dealers with a never-ending source of vulnerable customers, obstructs parental supervision and creates unhealthy social media addictions by design.
Snapchat also allows dealers to locate and access nearby minors and young adults, according to the lawsuit. It also allows the posting and exchange of drug menus and other information that disappears within 24 hours, which erases all evidence of the crime.
Snapchat has responded to the lawsuit, saying in a 2021 press release that they are determined to remove illegal drug sales from their platform. According to them, they have invested in proactive detection and collaboration with police to hold drug dealers accountable.