Snapchat's FTC Settlement and Admission

Snapchat-flashy-featuresSnapchat has entered into an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, which accused the app of violating its own privacy policies, but critics say that agreement will have little impact. The FTC found Snapchat guilty of claiming that "snaps" would disappear when they are actually quite easy to store forever and of transmitting users' locations when its policy claims that user information is not tracked.

Although the settlement does put restrictions on Snapchat, ZDNet, for example, questions the effectiveness:

"With this settlement agreement, the FTC is sending a message - just not one that makes us feel any better about Snapchat, and all the other Snapchats out there.

"And that message is: Party on with your bad self, Snapchat.

"It's not like anyone's going to stop you."

On its blog, Snapchat interpreted the agreement: 

Our Agreement with the FTC

When we started building Snapchat, we were focused on developing a unique, fast, and fun way to communicate with photos. We learned a lot during those early days. One of the ways we learned was by making mistakes, acknowledging them, and fixing them.

While we were focused on building, some things didn't get the attention they could have. One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community. This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission. 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. 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.

Image source.

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your experience with Snapchat? Does this news change your opinion of the company, or will you stop using the service?
  • Assess Snapchat's response. On Twitter, @PatrickVitalone called it a "non-apology." What do you think?