Snapchat has altered its terms and conditions, giving itself full ownership over images shared via its app.
One of the Snapchat’s selling points is the fact that photos shared through the app are auto-deleted after a few seconds. Unless the recipient takes a very hasty screenshot, photos on Snapchat disappear almost instantly. But that may be about to change.
Snapchat just updated its terms of service, stating that it now owns all photos shared on its platform. This means that the company, if it wishes, will be able to permanently store photos on its servers.
Furthermore, under the new terms, Snapchat retains the right to do whatever it wants with its users’ photographs. As The Telegraph explains, users are now “granting Snapchat permission to use your name, likeness and voice anywhere in the world, with no restrictions, on all media and distribution channels, forever.”
In truth, Snapchat has been storing its users’ images for some time. The change to its terms of service comes after Snapchat settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it deceived users by failing to deliver on its promise of privacy.
This came after several security flaws with Snapchat were exposed, including the fact that allegedly “disappearing” videos remained on users’ phones, unencrypted. Snapchat also collected information about its customers, despite promising not to track users.
Because of the widespread belief that photos on the app are deleted instantly, Snapchat has become a go-to app for ‘sexting’ — the sharing of intimate photos across the internet. Because the majority of Snapchat’s users are either teenagers or adults in their early twenties, this has helped fuel concerns about a ‘teen sexting epidemic.’ There have even been cases of teenagers arrested and charged as adults for sexting each other.
Under Snapchat’s new terms of service, however, both adults and teenagers who want their photos to be deleted permanently will have cause for concern.