Snapchat Settles FTC Complaint That It Lied To Users About Messages Disappearing Forever
An article published on The Huffington Post highlight that snap chat caused a massive data breach last year and exposed around 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers. Clearly they had struggled to fix security flaws.
According to the FTC, snap chat misled its users over this data collection by not informing them that their messages could be saved. Under the agreement that snap chat have accepted they will now have to undergo 20 years of monitoring from the FTC. Snapchat made no admission of wrong doing and in their blog stated “While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have,” and furthermore “One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community.”
FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez commented in a statement:
“Snapchat’s failure to secure its Find Friends feature resulted in a security breach that enabled attackers to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers.”
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. Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.
Whilst this is certainly bad news for Snapchat, its co-founder Evan Spiegel, has always been transparent about the fact that Snapchat pictures, while ephemeral, are relatively easy to capture and save. But it’s good for consumers to see that proactive action is being taken to protect privacy and infringement upon personal data that essentially could account as “data theft.
Also this is a key lesson to entrepreneurs and setups in terms of importance of privacy issues, laws and regulations which cannot be taken lightly, especially when developing a business, platform or application.