You might want to be extra careful about taking screenshots of a Snapchat message in the app. Not only will you face severe embarrassment after the user who posted the disappearing message is notified, but if you live in the U.K. you could actually go to jail.
Ed Vaizey, the U.K.'s culture minister, warned the public that Snapchat users who take screenshots of messages and then share them with others without the sending user's consent could be sued and also face jail time.
This is because snaps are protected by law.
"Under U.K. copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner," Vaizey said. "The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement."
The minister stressed how serious the consequences could be for those who save and share snaps that are of a sexual nature. He revealed that in these cases, the guilty party could be looking at longer jail time if they are convicted under the maximum sentence, which would be two years behind bars for violating Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015.
Those who are charged with copyright infringement usually face about six months in jail along with a hefty fine. However, those who commit this crime can face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Since photo and video messages disappear in a few seconds, many users may feel more comfortable using this platform for more explicit messages.
But users can take a screenshot to save the message. Snapchat's policy states that if it can detect that a user took a screenshot, it will try to inform the sender that their photo was saved.
While this is helpful, what if it goes undetected, especially since billions of photos and photos are sent on the app each day? What if that user has so many viewers it's hard to keep track of messages?
At least the U.K. government is cracking down on Snapchat users who could be thinking about using other people's messages. As a safety measure, always think twice before sending messages you wouldn't want everyone to see.