Sorry Snapchat: Your Photos Don't Disappear and Other Reasons I Don't Like You


So you’ve got the latest phone, and you have just downloaded all the latest apps. Amongst the barebones of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter you’ve decided to socialize with trendier programs like Snapchat and Whatsapp. Everyone knows that what you post on the internet is technically always existing out in cyberspace, but what about when you specifically use apps that have ‘no trace?’

Snapchat, an app that has been steadily rising in popularity as a form of instant messaging, allows users to send pictures to their friends that get deleted automatically after a maximum ten-second delay. The premise of a self destructing photo, allows users to send photos with a sense of security that the media they send won’t negatively affect their reputations, friendships, careers, etc. It also has become an increasingly popular platform for sexting, as the app will not store any data you send.

It is pretty clear why Snapchat has become such a popular messenger as it has; however, as for me, I would have to say sorry Snapchat your idea isn’t so iron clad.

Friends that receive your pictures can still screenshot whatever you send, and although the original application had built in warnings when a screenshot was taken, new iOS updates of the app do not show such warnings anymore. In addition, many websites and programmers now have access to all those dirty pictures you might send. “snapchatleaked.com”  cultivated a collection of screenshots users took while using the app and published them on their website.

Richard Hickman, a 24 year old forensics examiner, can retrieve Snapchat photos in a procedure that takes on average six hours, despite the ‘disappearing photo magic’ Snapchat claims. His private firm based in Orem, Utah will recover photos for $300 - $500 for anyone from lawyers to parents to the police. Obviously most of us probably have nothing to worry about other than some hideous selfies we have taken to express mundane life events to our friends, but I am sure that you’d think twice about a nude pic, or incriminating photo if you realized how easily accessible it really was.

Of course, Snapchat’s $860 million privacy policy explicitly states that there is no guarantee your data will always be deleted, so they aren’t too picky if one of your picture messages happened to be let loose. As far as they know everyone reads those terms and agreements before using an application right?
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© Miss Lauren Kyle
Maira Gall