Snapchat denies it stores users' messages and pictures

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As often happens, the internet went nuts over the weekend. The cause? A change to Snapchat's privacy policy. Rumors spread like a disease that the blink-and-you'll-miss-it messaging service was not only storing users' posts, but also taking ownership of them.

Snapchat has responded to the public outcry, explaining that this is simply not the case. But having spread around the world via mainstream media, the rumor may be hard to quash -- perhaps the app's Ghostface Chillah mascot spooked people over Halloween.

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The privacy policy change didn't actually happen this weekend, but last week. It took a day or two for people to take the time to read through the changes and subsequently misinterpret them, all leading to this weekend's hullabaloo. Snapchat took to Twitter in an attempt to reassure people:

In a separate blog post, the company confirmed that any messages "are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired":

Of course, a recipient can always screenshot or save your Snaps or Chats. But the important point is that Snapchat is not -- and never has been -- stockpiling your private Snaps or Chats. And because we continue to delete them from our servers as soon as they're read, we could not -- and do not -- share them with advertisers or business partners.

The post also explains that the Live Stories feature -- in which Snaps are shared around the world -- requires permission from users, hence Snapchat's privacy policy making reference to use of posted content. It also clarifies why there were revisions to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use documents:

  • The main thing we did was to rewrite the Terms and Privacy Policy so that they'd read the way people actually talk. We always try to be upfront and clear with our community.
  • We added language to the Terms of Service regarding in-app purchases. We needed to do that now that we're selling Replays -- and have some other cool products and services we’re looking forward to bringing to you soon.
  • To make it a little easier for friends to find you on Snapchat, we’ve clarified what info -- like your name -- will be visible to other Snapchatters and how you can modify that info.

Will it be enough to calm the fears of those whose paranoia has been piqued?

Photo credit: 360b / Shutterstock.com

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