An Arkansas man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, after he tracked a 13-year-old girl through Snapchat’s location feature, according to the Justice Department.
After tracking the minor’s location through the encrypted social media app, which lets users send messages and photos that disappear forever after a specified amount of time, 32-year-old Michael Ray Beam left a vape in her mailbox in exchange for sexually explicit content, officials said.
Snapchat allows connected users to see each other’s physical locations through the app. Users can choose to turn the feature on and off.
Beam used the function to track the girl to her Texarkana, Arkansas, home, according to the DOJ.
SNAPCHAT LAWSUIT ALLEGES 8 FENTANYL DEATHS ACROSS 6 STATES RESULTED FROM PILLS PURCHASED THROUGH APP
Beam also used Spanchat to “induce” the girl “to send him nude images and videos of herself, amounting to child pornography under federal law,” the DOJ said in a press release.
TEEN GIRLS SPEND MORE TIME ON ‘SENSITIVE’ SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT THAT CAN HARM MENTAL HEALTH, REPORT SAYS
“In Beam’s phone, investigators found multiple ‘screen capture’ video recordings of the child pornography he had received via Snapchat from the young victim.”
Snapchat says it has specific protections to make it harder for strangers to find and communicate with minors. Users under 18 are not allowed to have public profiles on the app, so teens can only begin speaking to other users if they accept their friend requests. Snap also has technology to identity and report images and videos featuring child sexual exploitation.
Snapchat also has an in-app safety feature for parents called “Family Center,” which is designed to give parents more insight into who their teens are talking to on Snapchat.
VIRGINIA TEACHER CHARGED AFTER PORNOGRAPHY ALLEGEDLY FOUND ON SNAPCHAT ACCOUNT
Beam had a digital folder on his phone, titled “My Collections,” that was confiscated by prosecutors and contained “a number of subfolders, some of which were designated with female first names,” a plea agreement filed in Beam’s case states.
“In one of the nine screen-capture videos, the Defendant can be seen to activate his phone’s screenside digital camera, causing his face to be briefly displayed on the phone’s screen, and thus to be recorded as part of that video,” the court filing states.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Smartphone users can record anything that appears on their screen through a screen-recording feature. Snapchat notifies users when others screenshot or record photos and videos sent through the app.
The Miller County Sheriff’s Office arrested Beam in September 2020. He pleaded not guilty.