Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Snapchat has appealed to its fans for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that its photo messages disappear once they’ve been opened. That ephemeral nature has now been up-ended with the startup’s new Terms of Service. Whereas, formerly, Snapchat noted that its privacy policy was “delete is our default,” its new terms state that the company has the right, specifically in regards to the ‘Live Story’ feature, to reproduce, modify and republish photos as well as save them to Shapchat’s servers. The update has led to concern and confusion by many users.

SnapchatAccording to MarketWatch, former White House associate director of public engagement and actor Kal Penn drew attention to these changes, stating that, with the new Terms of Service, “You grant Snapchat a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sub-licensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods.”

Penn also reported that the new terms state that, “some tools on the app control who can and cannot see your content, but does not clarify which ones.” When Snapchat users download the app’s new version, they’re asked to accept the new Terms of Service, although they must go to a new page to see the details of what they’re accepting.

Needless to say, “some Snapchat users expressed outrage over the fact that their ‘snaps’ may no longer be as private as they once were.” MarketWatch notes that, “Instagram’s terms of service similarly grant the company a royalty-free license to use contents posted through the social network,” and Facebook also grants its rights to royalty-free, worldwide license to content published under the Public Setting. But neither company has ever identified as a private or ephemeral messaging service.

In response, Snapchat has posted an update that assures users their snaps are still automatically deleted once viewed. The startup notes that while its Terms of Service grant “a broad license to use the content you create,” it is “a license that’s common to services like” Snapchat.

“The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update,” claims Snapchat. “Our Privacy Policy continues to say — as it did before — that those messages ‘are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired’… And because we continue to delete them from our servers as soon as they’re read, we could not — and do not — share them with advertisers or business partners.”