The plaintiff is suing Tinder and Snapchat, claiming footage of her alleged sexual assault was circulated on both apps.
A North Carolina resident is suing social media apps Snapchat and Tinder, claiming their data policies made it difficult to show evidence of an alleged sexual assault to law enforcement.
The News Observer notes that the lawsuit was filed by Aaliyah Palmer. While most outlets don’t name sexual assault victims, Palmer says she wants her story out and public. In her complaint, Palmer claims her rape was recorded by other people and then shared over Snapchat and Tinder.
But both companies have made it difficult for Palmer or police to obtain the clips.
According to the News Observer, Palmer was a student at North Carolina State University’s Raleigh campus. In January 2017, she went to a party and wound up at a Fayetteville apartment. There, she agreed to have sex with a soldier stationed at nearby Fort Bragg.
Palmer and the soldier, says ABC11, met over Tinder. He invited her to a friend’s party. Once there, they went to a bathroom to have sex.
However, Palmer says she quickly changed her mind after going into the bathroom. When she asked the soldier to stop, he allegedly became “aggressive.”
“It was consensual at first and then it just got to a point when it wasn’t comfortable and I asked him to stop and he didn’t,” Palmer told ABC11.
Meanwhile, Palmer claims “she saw cell phones with the camera lens facing up […] being slid under the door.” Fellow party-goers, says Palmer, had taken pictures and videos of the encounter.
“I have people filming me, I have people shouting that they were gonna join in on what’s going on,” Palmer said. “So for me, my thought is, I don’t know what’s going to happen when I leave this bathroom.”
Palmer says the clips and pictures were posted onto Snapchat, as well as Tinder Social, a since-defunct function which allowed users to share pictures and status updates with their matches. But when Palmer went to the police, she discovered that the Tinder messages had been deleted. The Snapchat video, too, proved inconclusive, and disappeared in its own time.
What’s not apparent from Palmer’s public statements is whether she’s accusing either app of intentionally refusing to cooperate with law enforcement. Snapchat, for instance, automatically removes videos and pictures from users’ feeds and personal “stories” after 24 hours. Similarly, Tinder Social also had a time limit on how long users’ social media updates would remain visible to matches.
Palmer filed her lawsuit on Thursday. It names five men implicated as “attackers” as defendants, along with Snapchat’s parent company, SNAP Inc., and Tinder parent company Match Group, Inc.
“At the end of the day, my life got changed a lot and these guys got a slap on the wrist and that was it,” Palmer told ABC11. “As far as Tinder and Snapchat go, high schoolers use them, college students use them and unfortunately people that age are very naïve and they don’t think about the what if’s. And these companies aren’t protecting them.”