Snapchat Settles FTC Charges That It Misled Users About Disappearing Photo Messages

May 10, 2014  |  

Turns out the whole selling point behind Snapchat was mostly false. Your photos on Snapchat never really get deleted, and now the app admits it deceived users by promising disappearing photo messages. According to the FTC  Snapchat has settled charges that it knowingly misled users.

The FTC found that “…Snapchat marketed the app’s central feature as the user’s ability to send snaps that would ‘disappear forever’ after the sender-designated time period expired. Despite Snapchat’s claims, the complaint describes several simple ways that recipients could save snaps indefinitely.”

The FTC also said that Snapchat collected address book data without user consent, and that the app let video messages be stored and accessed on a recipient’s phone. Additionally, Snapchat didn’t secure its “Find Friends” feature and this led to a security breach that affected more than 4 million users’ accounts.

“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,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement.  “Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.”

Because of all of these infractions, Snapchat must create an in-depth privacy program that will be monitored by a privacy professional for 20 years, reports Business Insider.

There has been an a crackdown worldwide on apps by authorities. The Snapchat case is “part of a multi-national enforcement sweep on mobile app privacy by members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, a cross-border coalition of privacy enforcement authorities,” reports Business Insider.

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