The FBI is investigating Snapchat’s role in illegal fentanyl sales through its platform that have led to many teen deaths, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
The FBI and attorneys for the Department of Justice are looking into cases where fentanyl sales were arranged through the platform, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. The Bureau has interviewed parents of people who were killed and is trying to access their accounts to try and trace the suppliers.
Subpoenaed records from Snapchat obtained by Bloomberg show that many teenagers have bought pure fentanyl via the social media platform, believing they were buying prescription painkillers but had actually purchased fentanyl.
Former White House drug czar Jim Carroll, currently on Snap’s safety advisory council, noted to Bloomberg that drug traffickers always aim to be where they can target young people.
“From everything I have read, I do believe that Snapchat has been more widely used for facilitating drug sales,” Carroll said.
For their part, Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, says it has worked with law enforcement to curb the amount of illegal drug activity on its platform.
“We are committed to doing our part to fight the national fentanyl poisoning crisis,” said Rachel Racusen, a Snap spokeswoman, in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.
In addition to criminal investigations, Snapchat also faces lawsuits from several victims’ families. The lawsuits claim the social media giant is slow to respond to subpoenas and remove drug dealers from their platform.
Attorney Laura Marquez-Garrett of the Social Media Victims Law Center is currently representing over two dozen families of fentanyl overdose victims.
“Before Snapchat, there was no way for these dealers to find these kids and no way to get the drugs to them. Now, they can have it delivered like a freaking pizza,” she said, according to Bloomberg.
While Snapchat is not the only social media platform dealers use, its disappearing images and encryption technology make it appealing to drug dealers, according to Bloomberg. These same features have helped make Snapchat one of the most popular social media apps used by teens.
Snap did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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