Problems With Snapchat – Why You Shouldn’t Be Using The Picture App
The concept of Snapchat is delightfully simple. You take a picture, send it to a friend, and the image disappears after ten seconds never to be seen again. As such, it has grown from being the pipe dream of one young Harvard student to an enormous smash hit exceeding over 30 million installs before the end of 2013. However, the app has not been without controversy. There have been a wealth of problems with Snapchat ranging from privacy to security. It has even been the focus of news stories about child pornography. So why exactly is Snapchat one of the most dangerous apps available to purchase, and why you should not be using it?
It’s a sexting app, and don’t let them tell you otherwise
The app’s founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy claim that having the pictures disappear is an attempt to make photo messaging closer to the ephemeral nature of spoken conversation. However, they have come under fire from all directions by people claiming it makes Snapchat little more than a sexting tool. After all, with the app’s ability to erase a photograph just seconds after delivery, it’s not hard to imagine the number of sexual images sent every day. Spiegel and Murphy have attempted to distance themselves from these alleged problems with Snapchat. However, in an email to a promoter not long after its launch, when asked if the app was the “the best way to sext, basically”, they admitted to its true nature by replying with “lucky guess”.
But does it actually delete your photos?
So, we’ve got the general idea now: Snapchat erases your pictures a couple of seconds after they have been sent to the recipient. There’s only one tiny little hiccup though: it doesn’t actually delete them. Tech enthusiast Nick Keck stumbled upon one of the biggest problems with Snapchat when he was playing with iFile and found that the app stored the images and videos he had received. He was then able to share them with his friends via social media and e-mail. This makes the entire purpose of Snapchat redundant in the first place. If you want to send a picture, you might as well do so over text.
Your personal details are far from secure… and so are your photographs
Snapchat prides itself on privacy and anonymity, so it’s ironic that the app’s lackluster security measures mean that it can’t guarantee either. Earlier this month, the Syrian Electronic Army busted through their walls and published a database of 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers. If hackers can do this, they can almost certainly find your photographs as well using a similar method to Nick Keck’s. This might send a shiver down the spines of anyone who has sent a sext. But there is an even worse scenario: what if they can get a hold of passwords too? Once that happens these problems with Snapchat escalate to a risk of total identity theft. Everything from, say, your Lloyds TSB finances to your Facebook account are compromised.
There are also spam problems with Snapchat
Spiegel and Murphy were forced to tuck their tail between their legs and apologise for the security breach. They probably thought that would put an end to the criticism, but just days later they were apologising again for another in a long line of problems with Snapchat. They were slammed by thousands of users who had been bombarded with spam photos promoting weight loss, penis enlargements and more. Many threatened to leave Snapchat if they are unable to combat the problem. However, seeing as there is no control over who can join, it’s unlikely that the spam will be disappearing in much the same way their photos do any time soon.