Snapchat has recently agreed to settle charges with the FTC, who complained that the company had deceived customers into thinking that their messages sent via Snapchat will eventually be erased for good and will disappear forever. As part of that settlement, the company will be required to implement a “comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by an independent privacy professional for the next 20 years,” according to a post by the FTC.
We’re not sure if Snapchat will even be around for the next 20 years, but suspect that the FTC is just trying to cover their bases. Snapchat advertises itself as a messaging app in which messages and photos sent will be deleted after a timer runs out. In fact on its FAQ page, it reads that there is no way for photos to be viewed after the timer has expired. In a way that is true since the photos won’t be viewable on the app itself, but for those who are tech savvy, accessing Snapchat’s data isn’t too hard.
For example video messages sent on Snapchat aren’t saved in the app’s sandbox. What this means is that users will be able to connect their smartphone to a computer and eventually navigate their way to where the files are being kept. Also thanks to Snapchat’s API, third party apps can connect to the app, which in turn could save the photos from the app, which kind of defeats the whole point of Snapchat in the first place.
It seems that this issue was brought to Snapchat’s attention way back in 2012, according to the FTC. In a blog post by Snapchat, “We are devoted to promoting user privacy and giving Snapchatters control over how and with whom they communicate. That’s something we’ve always taken seriously, and always will.” These issues that were brought to light don’t sound very reassuring, but if you plan on continuing to use the app, perhaps you’ll want to be a more selective as to what kind of content you send across.