Lawsuit against Snap over fentanyl overdose deaths can proceed: US judge
San Francisco, Jan 5 (IANS) A US judge has ruled that a lawsuit against social media giant Snap for allegedly facilitating illicit drug deals involving fentanyl that resulted in a series of drug overdoses among young people can proceed.
Last year, relatives of more than 60 young people who died of fentanyl overdoses filed an amended lawsuit against Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, in the US. The lawsuit was originally filed in 2022.
They argued that Snapchat is a defective product because its disappearing messaging feature facilitates the trade of illegal drugs”. Now, a Los Angeles judge has ruled that the lawsuit can proceed against Snapchat, reports TechCrunch.
In the ruling, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff rejected Snap’s effort to get the case dismissed. Snap argued that the case should be thrown out on the grounds that the social media app is protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Fentanyl, which is cheap to produce and often sold disguised as other substances, can prove lethal in even extremely small doses.
“Long before the fatal injuries giving rise to this lawsuit, Snap knew that its product features were being used by drug dealers to sell controlled substances to minors,” according to Matthew P Bergman, who founded the Social Media Victims Law Center which is representing the parents and family members.
Snapchat refuted the claims, saying it is “working diligently” to address drug dealing on its platform with law enforcement agencies.