Last month, three women at a senior living facility in the US state of Georgia made a Snapchat video in the room of a 76-year-old woman who had a stroke, according to police. The women, who were all at the time working at the facility, reportedly titled the story “The End.”
They were arrested on 22 June for allegedly exploiting an elderly and disabled person.
“One of them was smoking a vape pen,” a Jefferson Police Department detective said, according to WSB-TV. “They were using profanities and (making obscene hand gestures) at the camera.”
The three women—Jorden Lanah Bruce, 21; Mya Janai Moss, 21; and Lizeth Jocelyn Cervantes Ramirez, 19—worked at the Bentley Senior Living in Jefferson, Georgia, and created the Snap video on 13 June while they were waiting for the hospice nurse who, according to the Jefferson Police Department spokesperson, wouldn’t be back for a while. The spokesperson said that the women “were supposed to closely monitor the patient.” An employee at the facility reportedly saw the video and reported the women.
Snapchat, which in its early days was viewed most notoriously as a vehicle for sending nudes, has since served as an unsettling window into twisted acts of morbid exploitation. This is hardly the first incident in which someone used the ephemeral messaging app to post demeaning photos or videos of elderly patients without their permission. In 2015, ProPublica reported that it had found 35 cases where workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers discreetly distributed photos and videos of residents, and of those incidents, at least 16 involved Snapchat.
“This type of behaviour is cruel and violates the Terms of Service promise Snapchatters make to respect other people’s rights,” Snapchat told ProPublica in a statement. “We believe that elderly people should be celebrated and cared for with respect and compassion.”