Kari Paul theguardian.com
A California student used a “gender swap” filter on Snapchat to pose as an underage girl in a vigilante effort that led to a police officer’s arrest.
After a friend told him she was sexually assaulted as a child, Ethan, whose last name has not been revealed, set out to lure potential pedophiles into speaking to him on the dating app Tinder.
Using a Snapchat filter that uses augmented reality to overlay gendered facial features on a selfie, Ethan, 20, made an account of himself appearing as a girl and gave himself the name “Esther”. He matched with Robert Davies, a San Mateo police officer, who asked “Are you down to have some fun tonight?” on 11 May 2019.
Although Ethan’s false account stated that “Esther” was 19, he later texted the man to say that he was actually 16 and asked if it would bother him. Police say the two then discussed engaging in sexual activity, despite the fact that Davies believed the subject was an underage girl.