Snapchat Suspends Q&A Apps YOLO and LMK After Mother Sues for Teen's Suicide

On Monday, Kristine Bride, mother of the deceased teen Carson Bride, filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, San Francisco division against social media application companies Snapchat by Snap, Inc., YOLO by YOLO Technologies, Inc., LMK by Lightspace, Inc.

On the morning of June 23, 2020, 16-year-old Carson Bride took his own life by hanging himself. An Oregon resident who had completed his sophomore year of high school, Carson was being bullied anonymously on all three apps, according to the 72-page long lawsuit.

YOLO and LMK are anonymous Q&A platforms designed to keep users' identities a secret while allowing them to interact with others. The two services were integrated into Snap Kit, and to interact with either software, users were required to use Snapchat.

Carson's phone search history revealed that he had been searching terms like "YOLO username reveal hacks" and "YOLO reveal" since June 7, 2020, apparently trying to find ways to identify his abusers.

According to the lawsuit, he had been getting anonymous messages for months before his death. He received numerous "abusive, harassing and upsetting messages," including some that were sexually explicit. On June 7, 2020, for example, he received a message, "When u passed out in Biology I puy my balls in ur mouth" and "when you passed out I ate your a**."

Others from May 31 included threats, such as, "I'm gonna push u into the Grand Canyon" and "Remember when someone threatened to push u into the Grand Canyon, that s*** was so funny."

"We found out that, in the last days of Carson's life, he was desperately reaching out to friends to learn who was harassing him and searching for Yolo hacks to find a way to identify his tormentors," Carson's parents, Kristine and Tom Bride, said in a statement provided to Newsweek by attorneys Juyoun Han and Eric Baum of Eisenberg & Baum. LLC.

16-year-old Carson Bride was anonymously bullied on Snapchat for months before his death in 2020.

The morning he died, he was searching for ways to unmask his bullies.

This morning, his mom sued Snap, joining a new wave of legal challenges to platforms

— Sam Dean 🦅 (@SamAugustDean) May 10, 2021

"He never did, and, in the end, it was more than a 16-year-old who was seeking real friendship and connection could handle."

Two psychologists, as per the lawsuit, "opined that Carson's suicide was triggered by cyberbullying."

"The nightmare that we face every day with the loss of our son has been compounded with the complete lack of response that we have received from Yolo after repeated attempts to contact them," Kristine and Tom said in their statement.

"We are attentive parents but this anonymous cyberbullying was silently occurring without our knowledge. If this tragedy happened to us, it could happen to anyone. By bringing this lawsuit, I hope to hold Snap Inc., Yolo, and LMK accountable for the dangerous and harmful products that they have created and for their inability to enforce the safety policies they promote to teens. In this way, social media companies will think twice before they decide to continue putting profit over people," they added.

By using YOLO, the user has to consent to the app collecting "Personally Identifiable Information" which includes their telephone number, Snapchat display name, and geographic location, says YOLO's privacy policy.

The app is intended for the age groups of 17 and up and any account found to be in the possession of someone under that age with be deleted and all submitted "personally identifiable information" will be wiped, according to the policy.

Kristine filed the lawsuit in tandem with the Tyler Clementi Foundation, "a national advocacy organization whose mission is to combat bullying and cyberbullying."

Snapchat spokeswoman Kelsey Donohue told Bloomberg Law in a statement on Tuesday, "In light of the serious allegations raised by the lawsuit and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of the Snapchat community, we are suspending both YOLO and LMK's Snap Kit integrations while we investigate these claims."

Attorneys Han and Baum, regarding Snap's recent announcement, told Newsweek, "It is unfortunate that a young life was taken and a lawsuit was brought before any company would take action. We are looking for long-term, comprehensive changes in the way things are done."

Snapchat did not reply to Newsweek's request for comment at the time of publication.

Mother sues Snapchat, YOLO, LMK after Teen'sSuicide
Residents demonstrate near a building converted into a Snap, Inc. vendor of Spectacles sunglass cameras for Snapchat on the Venice Beach boardwalk on March 11, 2017 in the Venice area of Los Angeles, California. DAVID MCNEW/AFP/gETTY

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to
  • Ad free experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts