Snapchat is in the news for a very interesting reason today. It led to a very unique and first of its kind arrest. I’m sure you have seen someone use the Snapchat filter that switches your gender. For women, it would make your jaw more square and give you facial hair and for men, it would give them long hair and eyelashes. The reason why we are talking about this today, however, is because a month ago a 20-year-old student near San Fransisco thought he could do more to help make his community safer with this filter. The student whose name is Ethan used the filter to become Ester and created a fake Tinder profile claiming that he was 19 years old. This is when a 40-year-old by the name Robert Davies, a police officer in San Mateo first messaged him.
He asked her if she was “down to have fun tonight” and Ethan saw an opportunity. He says they switched from Tinder to a new messenger app which is when “Ester” said she is 16, not 19. Now it must be stated that originally the officer said that her age “could be an issue” but when Rob was asked ” are you still down?” he sent a shrug emoji and said “You won’t even send any pics of you” The conversation got more and more explicit and Davies even requested the move the conversation to Snapchat. 12 hours later Ethan said he took the screenshots of their conversation and sent them to the Silicon Valley crime stopper. Yeah, that’s a thing. This brought us to last week (June 6) when the police department arrested Davies for 1 count of communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a felony.
When Ethan was asked why he did this he said that frustration was his motivation, he says he wanted to do more to stop predators after finding out his female friend was molested as a child. He said “I was just looking to get someone, he just happened to be a cop”
If Davies is found guilty for his alleged crime, he could be spending anything from 16 months to 3 years in prison and R10 000 fines.