Snapchat Settles FTC Charges; FTC says Snapchat transmitted user location and collected address books without notice or consent

Mobile messaging app Snapchat, which promised its users ephemeral, disappearing picture and video messages, has settled FTC charges that pics and videos sent through its app weren’t as ephemeral as the company promised. According to the FTC, Snapchat transmitted users’ location data, and collected users’ address books without notice or consent. Also, the snaps weren’t protected from disappearing as fully as the company had promised. The FTC complaint also discussed a Snapchat security breach that allowed an attacker to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers. The full FTC complaint is located here <>.

Snapchat’s practices widely affected consumers — the FTC complaint notes that in the fall of 2013, users were transmitting more than 350 million snaps daily, with snaps consisting of pictures or videos. The complaint is detailed, and is notable for its clear and detailed argument against deceptive practices under Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a).

The FTC has published a consent agreement here <>. The FTC has said that the agreement will be subject to public comment until June 9, 2014, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Consumers can submit written comments, an electronic form is available here <>.

Important Note for Consumers:

If you were a Snapchat user, it is of high importance that you do not reuse any username or password that you used for Snapchat. These username/password combinations are no longer secure. If you have questions about how to change usernames or passwords, please contact us for tips or assistance.