Snapchat denies keeping users’ photos

Posted on November 6, 2015


Video messaging app Snapchat has hit back at allegations that it is stockpiling the content generated by its users, claiming that any pictures and videos are private, just as they were prior to a recent update.

The app allows users to send “Snaps”: videos and pictures that can be modified with text and drawings. These have a time limit, set by the user, for how long a recipient can view them; usually one to ten seconds, before the content is deleted.

However, a recent update to Snapchat’s terms of service stated that the company has

“worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit and publicly display”

any content distributed on the platform.

This implies that any pictures or video could end up as part of Snapchat’s marketing material, despite the ephemeral nature of the content being a draw for its users.

Following a backlash on other social media platforms, Snapchat issued a response to clarify its position. The company stated:

“The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update. Our Privacy Policy continues to say – as it did before – that those messages are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired.”

It went on to say that such terms of service were the norm for any similar platform, and tried to reassure users that any private communications remain just that – private.

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