ParentsTogether delivered a petition from 100,000 parents to Snapchat today demanding that they do more to keep kids safe on the platform. Currently, Snapchat only scans the app for photos of child sexual abuse and not video. The massively popular platform is used by 92% of social media users ages 12-17 and receives 1.4 billion video views everyday, and currently Snapchat does nothing to prevent child sexual abuse material from being shared via these videos. The two-million member parent-led organization is calling on Snapchat to immediately commit to proactively using scanning tools such as PhotoDNA to look for bothphotos and videos.
Since the COVID-19 lockdowns began, there has been a 400% surge in reports of child sexual abuse photos and videos being reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Other large social media platforms automatically screen for both photos and videos, but Snapchat still only scans for photos. In February of this year, the New York Times reported that for the first time ever videos have outnumbered photos in reports to authorities when it comes to exploitative material.
“Tech companies reported more than 40 million videos of online child sexual abuse. Snapchat is ignoring a crisis,” said Justin Ruben, Co-Founder of ParentsTogether. “They know they have videos of children being sexually abused on their platform and are still failing to actively stop it. It’s inexcusable.”
Last month, ParentsTogether conducted a survey of more than 3,000 parents that showed nearly half of respondents’ kids (48%) were spending more than six hours per day online – a nearly 500% increase from before the crisis.
Below, please find recent of examples of child sexual abuse incidents that have taken place on Snapchat:
- 3 Ohio men raped an unconscious teen girl in a hotel room and shared the video on Snapchat.
- A high school coach in New Mexico used Snapchat to extort sexual videos from several girls as young as 14.
- A Cleveland man posed as a therapist and blackmailed a 13-year-old girl into sending him sexual videos and photos.
- A Virginia man was arrested for running a “sextortion” ring on Snapchat, coercing children into sending sexually explicit material
- A Nebraska man posted a video of himself having sex with a teen girl on Snapcat
- A Florida mad was arrested for sending CSAM videos to children on Snapchat
- A Pennsylvania man filmed a sexual video with a 15-year-old without her consent and shared it with her friends, some as young as 13, on Snapchat.