10 teenage boys were recently arrested in Laval, Montreal, suspected of producing and sharing child pornography.
According to a local news report, the suspects are between the ages of 13 and 15 and were using a variety of gadgets to take photos of their girlfriends – who are within the same age range – in sexually suggestive poses. The reason why these girls thought it was completely OK to send out nude selfies? They were using Snapchat.
In case you’re one of the only people in the world who didn’t already know what Snapchat is, it’s a platform that’s designed to erase messages from your phone after a few seconds of viewing it. The trouble is, there are way too many ways for users to skate around this feature.
“There is the possibility of taking a screencap and then distributing the picture. We saw that it was shared outside also so we don’t know to what extent those pictures are going around cyber space,” Nathalie Laurin of the Laval police department told CTV News.
Clearly, it hasn’t hit home yet: There’s no such thing as completely disappearing content, especially where social networks and the Internet are concerned.
Laurin also shared that the suspects were caught because a school staff member found one of the boys viewing sexually explicit photos on his mobile phone. It only took a while before they found out that these photos were shared among multiple students, some of them enrolled in other schools.
This incident follows the news of Snapchat rejecting Facebook’s $3 billion buy-out offer, a move supported by Snapchat investor Bill Gurley, who also happens to be a general partner at Benchmark Capital. This strategy – has raised many “how the heck do you reject $3 billion??? eyebrows – reportedly stems in part from Benchmark’s desire to appeal to users who are starting to feel fatigue from using Facebook (read: teenagers), citing “greater privacy” as the main reason.
@FCC yet many adults still don't understand the draw of Snapchat.— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) November 12, 2013
For an app that has instigated the creation of various security hacks – there’s even an app for that – and has caused a lot of underage users to do unspeakable acts through their smartphones, Snapchat certainly comes off as deluded as its users by thinking that it actually is successful at providing an impenetrable veil of privacy. Another part of the problem is the serious lack of education on the nature of the Internet and really, the real meaning of common decency.
And of future raising aspirations, allegations of being used to distribute child pornography will certainly be a thorn in Snapchat’s side.