Trick or Treat, Users of Snapchat

If you are a Snapchat user, or at least familiar with the popular chat client, you know that it became famous for having it’s messages deleted once you read them. That feature is so famous that even former first lady, Hillary Clinton, joked about it in the wake of her “Emailgate” scandal. For most of us, updates to privacy policies in software goes unnoticed. That being said, Snapchat’s new policy update may have suffered the same fate, at least until it got noticed by someone famous.

Snapchat Sign

Trick or treat, Snapchat users. Sadly, the trick comes from Snapchat itself with it’s new privacy policy. One of the people to cause a stir about this change, is actor and former White House associate director of public engagement, Kal Penn. On his Twitter account, Penn displays the new policy and gives some cautionary words of advice.

Kal Penn's Snapchat warning

What is this change? They used to delete messages and photos from their servers after they were read/viewed. They now reserve the rights to reproduce, modify, republish your photos, and save those photos to Snapchat’s servers, all as part of their “Live Story” feature. That is just one of their new changes. If you want to read the new Terms of Service, click here.

Snapchat may have 200 million users world wide, but some say they may not use the popular messaging service in the future. Of course, they are not the only ones to have a policy like this. Popular sites like Instagram and Facebook have similar policy “features”. However, neither of those companies tout themselves as being private or having short term messages that disappear.

There are secure messaging services out on the market, though they may not be as popular as Snapchat. Those types of services offer what is known as end to end encryption. If you are a Snapchat user, be aware that their new policy means that sending a message on their platform is tantamount to posting a message on your Facebook wall. It is ok to use, but don’t put anything there you do not want the world to see.

Despite the public outrage by their users, Snapchat probably won’t lose many customers. Like policy changes by other companies, most will not take the time to read the new terms of service, and just agree to them. There is another portion of the population that doesn’t care, as long as they can talk to their fiends. Kudos to Kal Penn for bringing this policy change to light. This could mean people start reading terms of service updates, but we doubt it.