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Snapchat settles FTC charges over deceiving consumers

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that Snapchat, a wildly popular app which encourages users communicate through images, had deceived consumers on numerous issues related to privacy and security. One of the main reasons Snapchat is so popular is that images can be set to be erased from the recipient's phone after a certain amount of time has passed; Snapchat guaranteed that the images would "disappear forever."

The FTC's report showed that images sent through Snapchat can actually be saved, regardless of expiration stamps. One of the most common ways the disappearing feature is circumvented is through the use of third party applications which log into Snapchat. Despite such an obvious work around, Snapchat's privacy policy stated in no uncertain terms the ephemeral nature of snaps.

The FTC also found that Snapchat had mislead its users in other ways. The company transmitted GPS data from Android users, despite stating it did track such information in its privacy policy. Perhaps more concerning, Snapchat's failure to secure it's Find Friends feature allowed attackers to compile the names and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchat users.

As a result of the settlement, Snapchat must make substantiative efforts to correct these mistakes and market their product without any misrepresentation. The FTC stipulates that the company implement a comprehensive privacy program which will be monitored for the next 20 years.

Source: Federal Trade Commission | Image via bostinno.streetwise.co

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