Snapchat Captured in FTC Enforcement
On May 8, 2014, the FTC announced a settlement with Snapchat resolving allegations that the popular mobile messaging app deceived consumers over the disappearing nature of users “snaps” and made false and misleading representations concerning its privacy and information security practices. The FTC took issue with several of Snapchat’s practices and representations:
- Disappearing “Snaps” – Snapchat represents to users that their snaps (i.e., photos and videos) will “disappear forever” after the user-set time period expires, thereby ensuring users’ privacy and safeguarding against data collection. According to the FTC’s complaint, however, recipients could circumvent the settings to save or access the snaps in a number of ways. For example, recipients could open Snapchat messages in third-party apps, take a screen shot of the snaps on an iPhone, or access videos by connecting their mobile device to a computer and retrieving the files through the device directory. The complaint alleges that these types of workarounds were highly publicized.