Snapchat is a photo sharing (with a recently added messaging component) that operates under the security that each picture sent is only viewable for a certain amount of time, and then it vanishes forever. Originally created as a “safe sexing app”, Snapchat lets you share photos that you would never, well, share, on Facebook, Instagram, or any other photo-sharing site. The ethical issue is that it is promoted as safe. Each image disappears after 10 seconds. You are notified if someone takes a screen cap. But in actuality, like all things on the Internet, everything is store; information is gathered, and likely sold.
Snapchat wants you to have fun, and use common sense. Don’t snap copyrighted material, don’t spam or harass.
Snapchat is for users over 13 years old (though they have a similar app for children).
Snapchat makes all users release them from all liability, including the unfortunate likelihood that someone will use a private photo against you. Snapchat even caps the amount that you can sue for at $1. This is all listed under their “Limitation of Liability Clause”.
Snapchat collects a significant amount of information and may share it with third parties. Yikes.
Snapchat “temporarily process and store your images in order to provide our services.” That includes any (ahem) personal pictures you may take.
“Although we attempt to delete image data as soon as possible after the message is transmitted, we cannot guarantee that the message contents will be deleted in every case.” Again – Yikes.
It appears that there are a lot of negative aspects to Snapchat and that their policies dance on the side of unethical. Joseph Steinberg writes on Forbes, “The illusion of security provided by Snapchat may be even more problematic, as it may encourage risky behavior. If people think that their private photos and videos can be shared in a manner that is truly self-destructing (as has been ingrained thanks to movies such as the Mission Impossible series) they are more likely to send them to others. This is especially true for teenagers – notorious for sexting and over sharing.”
Snapchat is encouraging users to share private photos, by giving them the false assurance that photos expire and then are gone forever. The service isn’t as private as it claims to be.
Do you Snapchat? Do you think the amount of scandalous content that is shared through Snapchat is reason enough to change their terms of service?
Also, don’t you think people should lay off the naked pic already?!