FTC says Snapchat deceived customers - New York News

FTC says Snapchat deceived customers

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) - Snapchat has agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that it deceived customers about the disappearing nature of messages sent through its service and that it collected users' contacts without telling them or asking permission.

Snapchat is a popular mobile messaging app that lets people send photos, videos and messages that disappear in a few seconds. But the FTC said Snapchat misled users about its data collection methods and failed to tell users that others could save their messages without their knowledge.

Snapchat agreed to settle without admitting or denying any wrongdoing and the company said it has addressed many of the issues the FTC raised.

As part of the settlement, Snapchat must implement a privacy program that will be monitored by an outside privacy expert for the next 20 years. The arrangement is similar to privacy settlements that Google, Facebook and Myspace have agreed to in recent years.

Although Snapchat said its app notified users when a recipient takes a screenshot of a "snap" they've sent, the FTC said recipients with an Apple device that runs an operating system that predates iOS 7 could evade the app's screenshot detection. Apple's iOS7 launched last summer.

In addition, the FTC said Snapchat's app stored video snaps that were not encrypted on the recipient's device. The videos remained accessible to the recipient, the agency said. A user could access a video message, even after it supposedly disappeared, if the user simply connected the phone to a computer and accessed the video in the device's file directory.

The FTC complaint also alleges that Snapchat failed to secure its "find friends" feature. A security breach in January allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of some 4.6 million Snapchat users. The breach occurred after security experts warned the company at least twice about a vulnerability in its system. Snapchat later issued an update to its app that fixed the issue and allowed users to opt out of the "find friends" feature.

Snapchat's Android app also transmitted users' location information, the FTC said, even though the company told users it didn't collect such information.

The settlement doesn't have a financial component, but if Snapchat is found to violate the agreement, the company could end up paying a civil penalty of up to $16,000 for each violation. The Los Angeles startup reportedly turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook last fall.

In a blog post Thursday, Snapchat said that when its app was being created, "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," the company said in the post.

Snapchat, however, said it has since fixed the problems.

"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 company said. "And we continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse."

The settlement will be formally approved in 30 days once a public comment period ends.

  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Superstorm Sandy

    Grimm criticizes storm recovery program

    Grimm criticizes storm recovery program

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:12 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:12:14 GMT
    When Superstorm Sandy destroyed Maureen Childs' Staten Island home, she turned to New York City's Build it Back program for help. She says what she got back was heartache. At a news conference Wednesday, Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, highlighted what he called failures in a program designed to help victims of Sandy get back on their feet.
    When Superstorm Sandy destroyed Maureen Childs' Staten Island home, she turned to New York City's Build it Back program for help. She says what she got back was heartache. At a news conference Wednesday, Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and part of Brooklyn, highlighted what he called failures in a program designed to help victims of Sandy get back on their feet.
  • Pranna to end 'boozy brunch' after viral video

    Pranna to end 'boozy brunch' after viral video

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:10:44 GMT
    Video posted on YouTube showing young women and men who appear to be stumbling and drunk coming out of the restaurant Pranna in the flatiron district is why angry residents packed into a community meeting to complain Wednesday night. Neighbors say problems have been happening on Saturdays and Sundays during a so-called bottomless brunch, where patrons can drink as many drinks as they want in a two-hour period.
    Video posted on YouTube showing young women and men who appear to be stumbling and drunk coming out of the restaurant Pranna in the flatiron district is why angry residents packed into a community meeting to complain Wednesday night. Neighbors say problems have been happening on Saturdays and Sundays during a so-called bottomless brunch, where patrons can drink as many drinks as they want in a two-hour period.
  • NYC's secret access for celebrities

    NYC's secret access for celebrities

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-08-28 03:07:59 GMT
    A little bit of money, power and fame can unlock a whole world of hidden passageways and detours allowing stars to come and go discreetly. Seth Weisser has perfected private shopping inside his Soho vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around. Celebs slip in through the side door and descend into the vault. But the upper floor isn't too shabby either, featuring hundreds of rare Chanel and Hermes handbags.
    A little bit of money, power and fame can unlock a whole world of hidden passageways and detours allowing stars to come and go discreetly. Seth Weisser has perfected private shopping inside his Soho vintage boutique What Goes Around Comes Around. Celebs slip in through the side door and descend into the vault. But the upper floor isn't too shabby either, featuring hundreds of rare Chanel and Hermes handbags.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices