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February 7, 2016

Snapchat Roundup: Effects, Audits, and Ephemerality

As the dust continues to settle over yesterday’s Federal Trade Commission announcement that Snapchat has settled with the commission over charges that it deceived customers when it claimed their messages would “disappear forever,” the coverage poses questions about what it means and what the company and/or its users were thinking:

• The New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo writes that under the agreement, Snapchat “agreed to be monitored by an independent privacy auditor for the next 20 years. Such agreements have become something of a rite of passage for tech companies.” Manjoo mentions audit deals with companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook over the past few years.

“But there’s little evidence that these agreements have led to a wholesale shift in how tech companies handle private data,” Manjoo writes. In the case of Snapchat, its possible that the agreement could have a “deeper effect” on the company because its “entire premise is privacy,” Manjoo writes.

Kristin Burnham at Information Week gives a breakdown of the FTC’s allegations.

• ABC News’ Rheana Murray writes that: “Even after Snapchat admitted photos sent using the popular app don’t evaporate into the ether after all, experts say users still don’t grasp how difficult is it to entirely erase something from the Internet.”

• Kristen V. Brown at the San Francisco Chronicle writes:

Longtime mobile analyst and Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Evans questions whether the privacy piece of Snapchat’s ephemerality is what drew most people in the first place.

“Which part of the ephemerality did people care about?” he said. “Is it that images aren’t automatically saved? Is it that they disappear? Is it that it’s really easy to do sketches?”


  • Joann Roxbury

    Since science traces today’s events to yesterday, it can lead to the notion that our actions are not of our own control or responsibility.

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