Snapchat admits deleted photos aren’t really deleted

The photo-messaging app claimed that photos were automatically erased as soon as recipients saw them, but that’s not really the case.

Oh, snap! Those pics and videos you sent through Snapchat that you thought were gone forever? Yeah, not quite.

Snapchat, the photo-messaging app that became popular largely due to the fact that it auto-deletes the file seconds after the receiver sees it, has apparently been misleading users.

The company was forced to reveal to the Federal Trade Commission that images sent through the app are not exactly permanently deleted. From The Drum:

The FTC points out that third-party apps can be used to log into the Snapchat service, and because the deletion feature only functions in the official Snapchat app, recipients can view and save snaps indefinitely.

The revelation was made during an FTC complaint accusing the app service of secretly recording users’ physical location and allowing hackers to steal 4.6 million user names and phone numbers. Snapchat has agreed to settle those charges.

Snapchat copped to the shady practice in a recent blog post:

While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have. One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community.

This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission. 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.”

The FTC spiked the proverbial football and did an end zone dance with the following 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,” she said in the statement. “Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks F.T.C. action.

Twitter reactions to the announcement ranged from “What does this mean?” to unrelated queries to anger:

Ultimately, Snapchat has divided the world into two types of people: Those who have nothing to worry about and those who do.

(Image via)

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