This article originally appeared on 60 Second Social.
When Snapchat first started out I got on board and used it for a few weeks, it was fun and a good laugh however it was throttling my limited data package that I had at the time and I removed it. Then combined with the Snapchat leak not too long ago and my own reservations that had built up over time as a platform that was becoming popular for ‘sexting,’ I decided it was not for me.
The Snapchat leak was the moment when I really decided I would not be into using it for a sustained amount of time, over the course of the weekend though I got a swooping feeling of nostalgia and decided to give it another go again. This morning it is no longer on my phone and here is why I don’t want to use it at the moment.
Is Snapchat Built On A Lie?
Snapchat has altered its approach somewhat over time however the large central premise of the service is that what you are sending is private. This is in some respects a lie. Anything you share on this service can become public and that has been proved by the recent leak. Anything you post online could become public, a service that says they guarantee privacy should be approached with some caution. Snapchat will tell you that their servers were not breached in the recent image leak and therefore they are not to blame, however while that is true and their servers were not breached, they allow third party apps to connect to the main app and exploit it none the less.
When your device connects to the internet it associates all of your activity with that device. Every device has a unique identifier and everything can ultimately point back to you. Every site, everything you upload, everything you send…everything! Even if you delete it, the content may not be saved but the activity is.
With Snapchat there is a perception that your account is anonymous, not using your real name disassociates from the ‘real you.’ People make the assumption that nothing can be tracked back to them, however that is not how the internet works.
Snapchat knows who you are and where you are (they are legally bound to store this information), their marketing copy says they don’t however their terms of service say they do store it and have the right to sell that information as an asset to the company which they can sell.
Does The Image Actually Disappear?
The photo which apparently self destructs actually bounces from several servers when it goes between your phone and your friends phone. It goes from your phone, to your carriers servers and then to the Snapchat servers before land on your friends phone.
Snapchat allows you to see the image for 10 seconds, after that time it is still stored somewhere, even if you can’t see it. There is a perception that the image vanishes from existence forever and it is simply not true.
It Is A Really Fun App!
Don’t get me wrong, I see where an appeal would be. Especially with teenagers, however it is far from an innocent app. It has been well documented that the words from the creators is that the app was – “the best way to sext.”
This information came out in email documentation during the lawsuit over its origins.
If you are using the app to share innocent images of nothing really interesting and stuff that you see on the fly, then there is no real harm. However it is important to think about what you are sharing on Snapchat before deciding to share it.
There seems to be a misconception that the images vanish forever after 10 seconds and it simply is not true, they are stored by Snapchat and they could be used for whatever they please. Increasingly, companies are starting to look to Snapchat as a social media platform, it has the potential to connect with a young and trendy demographic and if companies get it to work for them then I applaud them for it.
It should not form the core of a companies social media strategy however and if it does then your social media strategy needs a re-think.
I would never write the app off, I would never say that I would not go back to it again. However right now there are too many question marks hanging over Snapchat and personally it is not a platform I want to indulge in at the moment.
About The Author
Mark is the founder of 60 Second Social media where he provides social media news and digital marketing analysis, he is also a proud father of his bearded dragon, Lola. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can also follow 60 Second Social on Twitter here.