Snapchat’s big selling point is that data sent through the app disappears forever. Turns out, that’s not entirely accurate.

In a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Snapchat has admitted that data doesn’t disappear forever despite claims otherwise. The FTC had said Snapchat was misleading users about what data it saved and how it pulled its disappearing act.

Specifically, the FTC pointed to a lack of security that led to hackers gathering more than 4 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers. Another problem? Third-party apps secretly saving pictures and videos. Gathering the pictures and videos was easy too. All that was needed was the person’s phone. Then the hacker could just go through the phone’s metadata on a computer.

Yesterday, Snapchat settled in order to get the FTC legal suit dropped. Changes to privacy rules and security were also required for the FTC to drop its suit.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez put other companies who preach privacy on notice in a statement.

“If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises.”

Ramirez added, “Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.”

Snapchat responded in a blog post.

“Even before today’s consent decree was announced, we had resolved most of those concerns over the past year by improving the wording of our privacy policy, app description, and in-app just-in-time notifications.”

The post continued, “And we continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse. We are devoted to promoting user privacy and giving Snapchatters control over how and with whom they communicate. That’s something we’ve always taken seriously, and always will.”

Snapchat wants to move past the recent security issues as quickly as possible. Even with the changes to the security and privacy, be careful what you send. Don’t want it public? Don’t send it. Nothing ever completely disappears on the internet.


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