Snapchat became even more popular as a messaging app with its premise of utmost privacy and security that any photo or video message sent over the app doesn't stay there forever but disappears right after the recipient viewed the message. Yet the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently accused the messaging app of deception and multiple representations, saying the app's premise isn't entirely true.
Based on research, there's no such thing as being completely secure, that everything being sent over the Internet has a risk for interception or retrieval, regardless if the transmitting companies claim otherwise. Even security experts believe everything that gets posted on the Internet remains forever.
"The Internet is forever, and people don't realize that. You think you can delete a tweet or a Facebook post, but it doesn't go away. Most people don't know how hard it is to make a message disappear," security expert Nico Sell, who is also among the founders of rival mobile message app Wickr, says to The New York Times.
Some users meanwhile expressed their disappointment and distrust on the messaging app, following news of the controversy.
It was reported earlier that the FTC found several misrepresentations from the messaging company. For instance is that the videos are still accessible to recipients simply by connecting their mobile device to a computer and then access the videos through the file directory of the device. Another thing, while users were told that they would be notified when the recipient takes a screenshot of the video message, truth is the recipient can escape the screenshot detection of the app when they use an Apple device with an operating system that is pre-dating the iOS 7.
Because of such privacy and security concerns, the FTC imposed stricter terms on Snapchat and the latter easily settled with no penalty involved yet. Though it could face penalties up to $16,000 per day if it violates the final consent order.
"The settlement with Snapchat is part of the FTC's ongoing effort to ensure that companies market their apps truthfully and keep their privacy promises to consumers. Under the terms of its settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users' information. In addition, the company will be required to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by an independent privacy professional for the next 20 years," FTC stated.
According to the FTC, Snapchat is prohibited from misrepresenting to users the scope of its security, privacy and confidentiality when they use the messaging app. The company is also required to come up with a comprehensive privacy program to be monitored by an independent privacy expert in the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, Snapchat released a statement regarding the issue.
Critics are now mulling over the issue whether Snapchat could take its old reputation back, now that it's somehow soiled, or simply toil in surrender.