Snapchat will be monitored for next 20 years following FTC investigation

snapchat

Protecting user privacy and sensitive information might drive Snapchat’s disappearing messages, but the Federal Trade Commission is keeping its eye on the company just in case!

The FTC has announced that it is settling with Snapchat after an investigation into the company’s privacy practices. The reason? The number of work arounds that allow photos and videos sent via Snapchat to be covertly captured.

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

The FTC also took issue with a major Snapchat data breach related to its “Find Friends” feature, through which hackers stole the username and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat users. That flaw was sorted out in an update of the app released January.

The settlement means that Snapchat will have to be extra careful about the way it describes its services, since it is “prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information.” Snapchat will also have to create a privacy policy which will be independently monitored for the next two decades.

Presumably after the 20 years is up, the FTC’s investigation will disappear.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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