Snapchat vs. the FTC

Do you or a teen you know use Snapchat? If so, you should know that it may not be as private or temporary as you think. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Snapchat agreed to settle charges that the company was deceiving users about “temporary” usage of photo messaging as well as the collection of user information. For those of you who are not familiar, Snapchat is a photo messaging application where the sender can set a limitation on the length of time the recipient can view the sent photo / video. The uniqueness of Snapchat is that the recipient has between 1 to 10 seconds to view the image before it is hidden and deleted from Snapchat’s servers, or so you assumed.

With over 700 million photos and videos being transmitted per day, Snapchat utilized privacy and security as their marketing pitch and advertised that the message “disappeared forever.” However, an investigation found that users can save a message by using a third party app or take a screenshot of the initial message. Under the terms of settlement, Snapchat is prohibited from misrepresenting its privacy and security measures as well as the confidentiality of its users. As a result, Snapchat has agreed to implement a new privacy program.

A recent update to the app will include text messaging and video conferencing which will help expand the company’s user base. The important thing to remember is that anything you upload into the technological realm is accessible notwithstanding the representations of the party facilitating the upload.

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