Snapchat owes its rapid ascension to the top of the social app pyramid to its disappearing messages, but the service has been transitioning away from ephemeral messaging in recent months. Not only can users pay to view messages more times instead of having them disappear forever, the company recently updated its terms of service so that it can save every single message you send, edit them however it wants, and publish them whenever it wants, all without having to ask for your permission or paying you any royalties.
When Snapchat released an update last week, did you bother to read the new terms of service? In all probability you, like most people, didn’t. But maybe you should have. The new terms gives Snapchat 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).’ ‘We may share information with entities within the Snapchat family of companies,’ it adds. In other words, Snapchat can look through your stuff, delete what it wants and publicly display or share whatever it likes. Just because Snapchat has the right to do that doesn’t mean it will, however. Snapchat gains nothing, for instance, from publishing the naked selfies you send your other half. It would drive away most of its users if it did. Instagram has a similar clause in its terms of service as does Facebook, providing your content is published under the ‘public’ setting.