Roblox And Peers Draw Lawsuit Over Sexual Exploitation Of Minor

  • A San Francisco lawsuit accused online gaming firm Roblox Corp RBLX of enabling a California girl's sexual and financial exploitation by adult men.
  • The lawsuit also targeted online chat company Discord IncSnapchat parent Snap Inc SNAP, and Instagram parent Meta Platforms Inc METAReuters reports.
  • Snap and Meta already faced dozens of similar lawsuits.
  • The girl, S.U., was born in 2009 and began using Roblox when she was nine or ten. 
  • Starting in early 2020, S.U. came across adult men through Roblox, who encouraged her to sign up for Discord, Snapchat, and Instagram to communicate with them. None of the companies required parental consent.
  • The men exploited her by encouraging her to drink and abuse prescription drugs and sending sexually explicit photos of herself. One man allegedly persuaded her to send him money.
  • S.U. suffered severe mental health problems leading to suicide attempts and hospitalization.
  • S.U. and her mother, C.U., said the companies failed to take steps to keep minors using their platforms safe, and that Snap and Instagram encouraged addiction in children. They are seeking unspecified damages.
  • Content on social media sites, including Instagram and Pinterest, Inc. PINS, is "likely" to have contributed to the death of British teenager Molly Russell, Financial Times reports.
  • After viewing thousands of posts about suicide, depression, and self-harm, Russell took her own life, a coroner ruled on September 30, five years after Russell's death in November 2017, when aged 14.
  • In September, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen launched "Beyond The Screen" nonprofit, marking a new, open-source effort to hold social networking platforms accountable for harmful practices
  • This "Duty of Care" initiative will pool expertise from nonprofit leaders, academics, litigators, and technologists who study the harms created and exacerbated by social media.
  • Haugen had leaked internal documents suggesting Facebook's harmful effects on children and teens, varied content moderation standards, and even called for CEO Mark Zuckerberg's resignation. She also testified before Congress.
  • Price Action: RBLX shares closed lower by 1.76% at $38.00 on Wednesday.
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