Snapchat breach

Government Claims Snapchat Lies To Users About Messages Disappearing

Is Snapchat lying to its customers? That’s what’s being reported by the New York Times. According to the publication the people behind the service Snapchat have reached a settlement in court with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday. Snapchat was charged with deceiving users about the way the photos and videos sent through the messaging service would be handled.

Snapchat is an app that you can acquire with any smart phone. It’s a service that allows users to share photos, videos, and other messages for a few seconds before it disappears. This is a fun feature that appeals to teens and young adults. The only problem is that the messages don’t “disappear forever” as advertised. The major complaint against Snapchat is that the snaps can indeed be saved in numerous ways.

According to the commission a user can save a message by using a third-party app, and because of this it leaves the app and its users vulnerable in their privacy. Third party apps allow users to take a screenshot of any messages without the app alerting the user. Another complaint is that Snapchat, “transmitted users’ location information and collected sensitive data like address book contacts, despite its saying that it did not collect such information.”

Due to these allegations the commission said that this allowed researchers to gather a total of 4.6 million user names and phones numbers during the breach.

The chairwoman for the F.T.C., Edith Ramirez, said in a statement:

“If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises. Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks F.T.C. action.”

Snapchat has since agreed to start a “wide-ranging privacy program” that will be monitored for 20 years. The company is also prohibited from misrepresenting itself again in how it maintains privacy.

In a statement Snapchat said:

“While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have. Even before today’s consent decree was announced, we had resolved most of those concerns over the past year by improving the wording of our privacy policy, app description, and in-app just-in-time notifications. And we continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse.”

As a result users are already complaining about the “new” Snapchat:

Hopefully new improvements will be made so it’s more user friendly.

[Image Credit: Gil C /]