Last modified: 1 October 2018
When you use these services, you’ll share some information with us. So we want to be upfront about the information we collect, how we use it, who we share it with and the controls we give you to access, update and delete your information.
Some final notes before we dive in: we’re happy to report that we participate in the EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield, which you can read more about here. And, if you’re in the EU, there’s some extra information we’d like to bring to your attention here.
Information we collect
There are 3 basic categories of information we collect:
- Information you choose to give us.
- Information we get when you use our services.
- Information we get from third parties.
Here’s a little more detail on each of these categories.
Information you choose to give us
When you interact with our services, we collect the information that you choose to share with us. For example, most of our services require you to set up a basic Snapchat account, so we need to collect a few important details about you, such as: a unique username you’d like to go by, a password, an email address, a phone number and your date of birth. To make it easier for others to find you, we may also ask you to provide us with some additional information that will be publicly visible on our services, such as profile pictures, a name or other useful identifying information. Other services, such as commerce products, may also require you to provide us with a debit or credit card number and its associated account information.
Of course, you’ll also provide us whatever information you send through our services, such as Snaps and Chats to your friends. Keep in mind that the users you send Snaps, Chats and any other content to can always save that content or copy it outside the app. So, the same common sense that applies to the Internet at large applies to Snapchat as well: don’t send messages or share content that you wouldn’t want someone to save or share.
It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: when you contact Customer Support or communicate with us in any other way, we’ll collect whatever information you volunteer.
Information we get when you use our services
When you use our services, we collect information about which of those services you’ve used and how you’ve used them. We might know, for instance, that you watched a particular Story, saw a specific advert for a certain period of time, and sent a few Snaps to friends. Here’s a fuller explanation of the types of information we collect when you use our services:
- Usage information. We collect information about your activity through our services. For example, we may collect information about:
- how you interact with our services, such as which Filters you view or apply to Snaps, which Stories you watch on Discover, whether you’re using Spectacles or which search queries you submit.
- how you communicate with other Snapchatters, such as their names, the time and date of your communications, the number of messages you exchange with your friends, which friends you exchange messages with the most, and your interactions with messages (such as when you open a message or capture a screenshot).
- Content information. We collect content you create on our services, such as custom stickers, and information about the content you create or provide, such as if the recipient has viewed the content and the metadata that is provided with the content.
- Device information. We collect information from and about the devices you use. For example, we collect:
- information about your hardware and software, such as the hardware model, operating system version, device memory, advertising identifiers, unique application identifiers, apps installed, unique device identifiers, browser type, language, battery level and time zone.
- information from device sensors, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses, microphones and headphone connection.
- information about your wireless and mobile network connections, such as mobile phone number, service provider and signal strength.
- Device phonebook. Because Snapchat is all about communicating with friends, we may – with your permission – collect information from your device’s phonebook.
- Camera and photos. Many of our services require us to collect images and other information from your device’s camera and photos. For example, you won’t be able to send Snaps or upload photos from your camera roll unless we can access your camera or photos.
- Location Information. When you use our services we may collect information about your location. With your permission, we may also collect information about your precise location using methods that include GPS, wireless networks, cell towers, Wi-Fi access points and other sensors, such as gyroscopes, accelerometers and compasses.
- Log information. We also collect log information when you use our website. That information includes, among other things:
- details about how you’ve used our services.
- device information, such as your web browser type and language.
- access times.
- pages viewed.
- IP address.
- identifiers associated with cookies or other technologies that may uniquely identify your device or browser.
- pages you visit before or after navigating to our website.
Information we collect from third parties
We may also obtain information from our affiliates and third parties. Here are a few examples:
- If you link your Snapchat account to another service (like Bitmoji or a third-party app), we may receive information from the other service, like how you use that service.
- Advertisers may let us know you installed a new app or game so we can determine whether we showed you an ad for it.
- If you interact with one of our advertisers, they may share information with us to help target or measure the performance of ads. You can learn more about these types of ads in our Support Centre.
- If another user uploads their contact list, we may combine information from that user’s contact list with other information we have collected about you.
How we use information
What do we do with the information we collect? For the detailed answer, go here. The short answer is: provide you with an amazing set of products and services that we relentlessly improve. Here are the ways we do that:
- develop, operate, improve, deliver, maintain and protect our products and services.
- send you communications, including by email. For example, we may use email to respond to support enquiries or to share information about our products, services and promotional offers that we think may interest you.
- monitor and analyse trends and usage.
- personalise our services by, among other things, suggesting friends or profile information, or customising the content we show you, including ads.
- contextualise your experience by, among other things, tagging your Memories content using your precise location information (if, of course, you’ve given us permission to collect that information) and applying other labels based on the content.
- provide and improve ad targeting and measurement, including through the use of your precise location information (again, if you’ve given us permission to collect that information), both on and off our services. See the Control Over Your Information section below for more information about Snap Inc.’s advertising practices and your choices.
- enhance the safety and security of our products and services.
- verify your identity and prevent fraud or other unauthorised or illegal activity.
- use information we’ve collected from cookies and other technology to enhance our services and your experience with them.
- enforce our Terms of Service and other usage policies.
We may also use information from Apple’s TrueDepth camera to improve the quality of Lenses. Information from the TrueDepth camera is used in real time – we don’t store this information on our servers or share it with third parties.
How we share information
We may share information about you in the following ways:
- With other Snapchatters. We may share the following information with other Snapchatters:
- information about you, such as your username, name and Bitmoji.
- information about how you have interacted with our services, such as your Snapchat “score”, the names of Snapchatters you are friends with and other information that will help Snapchatters understand your connections with others using our services. For example, because it may not be clear whether a new friend request comes from someone you actually know, we may share whether you and the requestor have Snapchat friends in common.
- any additional information you have directed us to share.
- content you post or send. How widely your content is shared depends on your personal settings and the type of service you are using. For example, a Snap may be sent to just a single friend you select, but your My Story content may be seen by any Snapchatter you allow to see your My Story.
- With all Snapchatters, our business partners and the general public. We may share the following information with all Snapchatters, as well as with our business partners and the general public:
- public information such as your name, username, Snapcode and profile pictures.
- Story submissions that are set to be viewable by everyone and any content that you submit to an inherently public service, like Our Story and other crowd-sourced services. This content may be viewed and shared by the public at large both on and off our services, including through search results, on websites, in apps and in online and offline broadcasts.
- With our affiliates. We may share information with entities within the Snap Inc. family of companies.
- With third parties. We may share your information with the following third parties:
- With service providers. We may share information about you with service providers who perform services on our behalf. Learn more here.
- With business partners. We may share information about you with business partners that provide services and functionality. For more information about information collected by third parties on our services, visit our Support Site.
- With third parties for legal reasons. We may share information about you if we reasonably believe that disclosing the information is needed to:
- comply with any valid legal process, governmental request, or applicable law, rule or regulation.
- investigate, remedy, or enforce potential Terms of Service violations.
- protect our, our users' or others' rights, property and safety.
- detect and resolve any fraud or security concerns.
- With third parties as part of a merger or acquisition. If Snap Inc. gets involved in a merger, asset sale, financing, liquidation or bankruptcy, or acquisition of all or some portion of our business to another company, we may share your information with that company before and after the transaction closes.
We may also share with third parties – such as advertisers – aggregated, non-personally identifiable or de-identified information.
Third-party content and integrations
Our services may also contain third-party links and search results, include third-party integrations, or offer a co-branded or third-party-branded service. Through these links, third-party integrations and co-branded or third-party-branded services, you may be providing information (including personal information) directly to the third party, us, or both. You acknowledge and agree that we are not responsible for how those third parties collect or use your information. As always, we encourage you to review the privacy policies of every third-party service that you visit or use, including those third parties you interact with through our services. To learn more about third-party services in Snapchat, visit our Support Site.
Analytics and advertising services
Provided by others
Additionally, some companies, including our affiliates, may use information collected on our services to measure the performance of adverts and deliver more relevant adverts on behalf of us or other companies, including on third-party websites and apps. For more information about interest-based adverts and the choices available to you, go here.
Provided by us
How Long We Keep Your Information
Snapchat lets you capture what it’s like to live in the moment. On our end, that means most messages – like Snaps and Chats – sent in Snapchat will be automatically deleted by default from our servers after we detect they’ve been opened by all recipients or have expired. Other content, like Story posts, are stored for longer. For detailed information about how long we store different types of content, check out our Support Site.
We store other information for longer periods of time. For example:
- We store your basic account information – such as your name, phone number and email address – and list of friends until you ask us to delete them.
- We store location information for different lengths of time based on how precise it is and which services you use. For example, if you use the Map, we store information about your favourite places for up to 40 days so we can show you Actionmoji and improve your experience. If location information is associated with a Snap – such as those saved to Memories or posted to Our Story – we’ll retain that location as long as we store the Snap.
- We’re constantly collecting and updating information about the things you might like and dislike, so we can provide you with more relevant content and adverts. Go here to learn more.
If you ever decide to stop using Snapchat, you can just ask us to delete your account. We’ll also delete most of the information we’ve collected about you after you’ve been inactive for a while – but don’t worry, we’ll try to contact you first!
Keep in mind that, while our systems are designed to carry out our deletion practices automatically, we cannot promise that deletion will occur within a specific timeframe. There may be legal requirements to store your data, and we may need to suspend those deletion practices if we receive valid legal process asking us to preserve content, or if we receive reports of abuse or other Terms of Service violations. Finally, we may also retain certain information in backup for a limited period of time or as required by law.
Control over your information
We want you to be in control of your information, so we provide you with the following tools.
- Download My Data. You can access and edit most of your basic account information right in our apps. You can also use Download My Data to obtain a copy of information that isn’t available in our apps in a portable format, so you can move it or store it wherever you want. Because your privacy is important to us, we may ask you to verify your identity or provide additional information before we let you access or update your personal information. We may also reject your request to access or update your personal information for a number of reasons, including, for example, that the request risks the privacy of other users or is unlawful.
- Revoking permissions. If you let us use your information, you can always change your mind and simply revoke your permission by changing the settings on your device if your device offers those options. Of course, if you do that, certain services may lose full functionality.
- Deletion. While we hope you’ll remain a lifelong Snapchatter, if for some reason you ever want to delete your account, just go here to learn how. You can also delete some information in the app, such as photos you’ve saved to Memories, Our Story submissions and your search history.
- Advertising Preferences. We try to show you ads that we think will be relevant to your interests. If you would like to modify the information we and our advertising partners use to select these ads, you can do so in the app. Go here to learn more.
- Communicating with other Snapchatters. It’s important to us that you stay in control over whom you communicate with. That’s why we’ve built a number of tools in Settings that let you indicate, among other things, who you want to see your Stories, whether you’d like to receive Snaps from just your friends or all Snapchatters, and whether you’d like to block another Snapchatter from contacting you again. Go here to learn more.
Users in the European Union
If you’re a user in the European Union, you should know that Snap Inc. is the controller of your personal information. Here is some additional information we would like to bring to your attention:
Bases for using your information
Your country only allows us to use your personal information when certain conditions apply. These conditions are called “legal bases” and, at Snap, we typically rely on 1 of 4:
- Contract. A reason we might use your information is because you’ve entered into an agreement with us. For example, when you buy an On-Demand Geofilter and accepted our Custom Creative Tools Terms, we need to use some of your information to collect payment and make sure we show your Geofilter to the right people at the right place and time.
- Legitimate interest. Another reason we might use your information is because we have – or a third party has – a legitimate interest in doing so. For example, we need to use your information to provide and improve our services, including protecting your account, delivering your Snaps, providing customer support and helping you find friends and content we think you’ll like. Because most of our services are free, we also use some information about you to try and show you ads you’ll find interesting. An important point to understand about legitimate interest is that our interests don’t outweigh your right to privacy, so we only rely on legitimate interest when we think the way we are using your data doesn’t significantly impact your privacy or would be expected by you, or there is a compelling reason to do so. We explain our legitimate business reasons for using your information in more detail here.
- Consent. In some cases we’ll ask for consent to use your information for specific purposes. If we do, we’ll make sure you can revoke your consent in our services or through your device permissions. Even if we’re not relying on consent to use your information, we may ask you for permission to access data like contacts and location.
- Legal obligation. We may be required to use your personal information to comply with the law, like when we respond to valid legal process or need to take action to protect our users. Since 15 November 2015, our policy has been to notify Snapchatters when we receive legal process seeking their account information, with some exceptions. Learn more here.
Your right to object
You have the right to object to our use of your information. With many types of data, we’ve provided you with the ability to simply delete it if you don’t want us processing it anymore. For other types of data, we’ve given you the ability to stop the use of your data by disabling the feature altogether. You can do these things in the app. If there are other types of information you don’t agree with us processing, you can contact us.
We may collect your personal information from, transfer it to, and store and process it in the United States and other countries outside of where you live. Whenever we share information of EU users outside the EU we make sure an adequate transfer mechanism is in place. For internal transfers, we rely on Model Contractual Clauses or the EU-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield, which you can read more about here. You can find more information on the categories of third parties we share information with here.
Complaints? If you’re based in the EU, you can always file a complaint with the supervisory authority in your Member State. For example, if you’re based in the UK you can file a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Our services are not intended for – and we don’t direct them to – anyone under 13. And that’s why we do not knowingly collect personal information from anyone under 13. In addition, we may limit how we collect, use and store some of the information of EU users between 13 and 16. In some cases, this means we will be unable to provide certain functionality to these users. If we need to rely on consent as a legal basis for processing your information and your country requires consent from a parent, we may require your parent’s consent before we collect and use that information.