SOCIAL PHOTOBOOTH Snapchat has settled with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), having admitted that it stored and mishandled user data.
Snapchat has long claimed that once messages are sent and viewed through its service, they "disappear". However, the FTC alleged that that photos sent on Snapchat could be saved using several methods, for example, those using iOS 7 could easily evade the app's screenshot detection, and the trade watchdog also observed that images could be stored using third-party apps.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez said, "If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keeps those promises.
"Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action," she added.
The FTC also acknowledged Snapchat's January data leak, which due to way that the service collected users' data without their consent resulted in hackers compiling a database of 4.6 million Snapchat user names and phone numbers.
"According to the FTC, the exposure of this information could lead to costly spam, phishing, and other unsolicited communications," the watchdog said in a blog post on Thursday.
Snapchat admitted to its mistakes and acknowledged the settlement on its blog. It said, "This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission.
"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."
Under the terms of the settlement, Snapchat's privacy practices will be monitored for the next 20 years. µ