Snapchat Implicated In Canadian Child Porn ScandalS

Police in Laval, a large suburb just north of Montreal, arrested ten teenage boys this morning. Each were suspected of producing and distributing child pornography. Many of their alleged victims used Snapchat and assumed the pictures had been deleted.

According to Montreal's CTV News:

Police say the boys, aged 13 to 15 years old, were using laptops, cell phones and iPads to take pictures of girls in sexual poses or performing sexual acts

Officers have identified seven girls who were either coerced into having their picture taken, or who were tricked into thinking the picture would be deleted immediately.

Many of the girls were using an application called SnapChat which is set to delete photos a few seconds after they are viewed — however the program can easily be defeated and the photos kept on a permanent basis.

A special unit of 20 investigators got involved after it was discovered that multiple boys had access to the same or similar "explicit" photographs of a girl "and that they had been shared with fellow students at two other schools, reports CTV News.

Yesterday, after the news leaked that Snapchat had turned down a $3 billion all cash acquisition offer from Facebook, Snapchat investor Bill Gurley—a general partner at Benchmark Capital—crowed on Twitter that people who don't get Snapchat just don't understand the cyber security it offers young people in a precarious digital world.

In fact, according to the New York Times, part of the reason Snapchat turned down the offer was because of Benchmark. The venture capital firm was disappointed that Instagram, another one of its portfolio companies, sold to Facebook for a mere billion. So Benchmark put more emphasis on Snapchat and the "greater privacy" it offers teenage users:

Eight months after the Instagram sale, Benchmark switched tactics and placed an initial $13 million bet on Snapchat. Benchmark executives thought they might be able to profit from Facebook fatigue by investing in services like Snapchat that offered users — particularly teenagers — greater privacy.

Snapchat has been plagued with numerous reports about hacks that lets users secretly save images and videos that were supposed to be deleted.

We have reached out to the company for comment and will update the post if we hear back.

To contact the author of this post, please email nitasha@gawker.com.