Snapchat, famed social networking application allowing users to send auto-deleting images, videos, and text messages, has updated its privacy policy in a very serious way. And it has some people, like former White House employee and actor Kal Penn, a little worried.
Snapchat’s primary audience of young adults and teens were heavily drawn to the application as a communication medium based on the safety net of knowing whatever is sent gets deleted. The application’s new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service changes all of that.


There is a dramatic increase in what the company is allowed to do with users’ photos, videos, and other data. According to the updated Terms of Service, which users MUST ACCEPT to use the October 28th update of the app, Snapchat is granted “a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license” to:

“host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).”


“You also grant Snapchat and our business partners the unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use your name, likeness, and voice in any and all media and distribution channels…”

When words like “perpetual right” and “license to use your name, likeness, and voice” are coupled with “any and all media and distribution channels”, users have a right to withdraw. This goes a long way from their original data collection policy: “Delete is our default” (See the section titled “Message Deletion” here.)

Another huge scare in the snapchat Privacy Policy update comes from their ability to collect log file information on what websites you previously visited, and when you visited them, as pointed out on Twitter by Sam Sheffer.

The changes are highly speculated to have derived from Snapchats successful launch of advertising via its message sharing application. Advertisers can now latch on to the app’s Live Story features and market their ads towards specific audiences along with many other existing ad options like private snap channels and live event marketing.

Snapchat has tried to put users at ease, releasing a blog post Sunday titled “Protecting Your Privacy” in which they state: “The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update.” Privacy policies like this are commonplace for similar social media applications like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.