Snapchat settles FTC charges it deceived users

The developer of the popular messaging app, Snapchat, agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived customers about the true nature of disappearing messages and app security.

Snapchat is a mobile video and photo messaging app. The FTC announced the settlement Thursday.

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“According to the FTC’s complaint, Snapchat made multiple misrepresentations to consumers about its product that stood in stark contrast to how the app actually worked,” a release on the trade commission’s website states.

The complaint alleges Snapchat misled users, promising that messages would disappear within a certain self-designated period of time and the user would be notified if the other person took a screen shot of the snap.

Instead, the complaint alleges, there were several ways around the notification system that were known to Snapchat, but the company did not notify users and, “continued to misrepresent that the sender controls how long a recipient can view a snap.”

The messages were also allegedly still accessible if a recipient plugged their phone into a computer and accessed the device’s file directory, according to the release.

Snapchat also allegedly did not secure its Find Friends feature, leading to a security breach that let attackers put together a database of 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers. The app also allegedly transmitted geolocation information from Android users even though the privacy policy said it did not track or access that information at all.

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