Pictures on the popular messaging app Snapchat don’t always disappear, according to federal charges filed Thursday.
Snapchat settled a lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission over accusations that it misled consumers about the privacy of its service.
According to the government, consumers can download third-party apps that allow them to save Snapchat pictures and videos indefinitely. The app advertises to users that the pictures sent through its service “disappear forever” a few seconds after being opened.
The app also promises that it will notify users if the recipient of a picture takes a screenshot of it before it disappears. But according to the complaint, anyone using an Apple device with an old operating system can easily take a screenshot and evade notification.
“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,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. “Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action.”
The company also settled an array of other charges with the FTC. Snapchat allegedly tracked geolocation information for Android users despite promising not to. The company failed to properly encrypt videos and collected information from users’ address books without providing proper notice, according to the complaint.
Many consumers also complained that they had sent pictures to strangers, thinking they were communicating with friends. The FTC said Snapchat should have verified phone numbers during the registration process.
In a blog post, Snapchat acknowledged that in the early days of the app, “some things didn’t get the attention they could have.”
The settlement requires Snapchat to implement a comprehensive privacy protection program and to submit to independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. Future privacy or security violations could result in fines.
What We're Following See More »
Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."
"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."
"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."