Update on Third-Party Apps

We last wrote about third-party applications a few weeks ago when a third-party app that offered to save Snaps was compromised. At that time, we promised that we would continue to improve the security and reliability of our service and today we’re announcing a change in the way we treat third-party applications.

We’ve enjoyed some of the ways that developers have tried to make Snapchat better. Unfortunately, some developers build services that trick Snapchatters and compromise their accounts.

We want to prevent that from happening in our community. Starting today, we will notify Snapchatters when we have detected that they may be using third-party apps and we’ll ask those Snapchatters to change their password and stop using unauthorized apps.

Most of you will see no difference in your Snapchat experience today. We’ve got some incredible new stuff on the way.

Happy Snapping!

Advertising on Snapchat

This weekend we’re placing an advertisement in “Recent Updates” for Snapchatters in the United States. It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this because it’s the first time we’ve been paid to put content in that space. It’s going to feel a little weird at first, but we’re taking the plunge.

The best advertisements tell you more about stuff that actually interests you. Some companies spend a lot of time and collect a lot of data about you to figure that out. The product we’re releasing today is a lot simpler. An advertisement will appear in your Recent Updates from time to time, and you can choose if you want to watch it. No biggie. It goes away after you view it or within 24 hours, just like Stories.

We won’t put advertisements in your personal communication – things like Snaps or Chats. That would be totally rude. We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted. It’s nice when all of the brilliant creative minds out there get our attention with terrific content.

Understandably, a lot of folks want to know why we’re introducing advertisements to our service. The answer is probably unsurprising – we need to make money. Advertising allows us to support our service while delivering neat content to Snapchatters. We promise that we’ll use the money we make to continue to surprise the Snapchat community with more terrific products – that’s what we love to do!

Our Campus Story

We’re always a little nervous when we launch new products – yesterday was no exception when we launched Our Campus Story – but the Snapchat community totally blew us away! It has been so exciting to see the response at Penn State, UCLA, USC, and UT.

Our Campus Story was the natural evolution of the Our Story product that we launched at EDC this year. Our team heard tons of requests for Our Story at college campuses – so we just had to make it happen.

Some folks have been wondering how to access Our Campus Story. You’ll have to turn on location services so that Snapchat can determine your eligibility. For now, only Snapchatters whose phones indicate they’re in and around campus will be able to post to and view their Campus Story. Keep in mind that the accuracy of any device’s location information can be affected by operating systems and other apps.

We can’t wait to roll out Our Campus Story to more schools across the world! Tweet @Snapchat or send us a note if you’d like to see your campus on Snapchat!

Third-Party Applications and the Snapchat API

Over the past few days we’ve fielded a number of questions about our API and third-party applications after a website that offered to save Snaps indicated that their database had been breached. We are grateful that the service provider acknowledged that Snapchat was never compromised, but we wanted to use this as an opportunity to reiterate the unfortunate threats these third-party applications can pose to our community.

A third-party application is any application that accesses the Snapchat API, but hasn’t been built and maintained by our company. Given the popularity of Snapchat and the size of our community, it’s no surprise that a cottage industry of app-makers has popped up to provide additional services to Snapchatters. Unfortunately, these applications often ask for Snapchat login credentials and use them to send or receive snaps and access account information.

When you give your login credentials to a third-party application, you’re allowing a developer, and possibly a criminal, to access your account information and send information on your behalf.

It takes time and a lot of resources to build an open and trustworthy third-party application ecosystem. That’s why we haven’t provided a public API to developers and why we prohibit access to the private API we use to provide our service. Don’t get us wrong - we’re excited by the interest in developing for the Snapchat platform - but we’re going to take our time to get it right. Until then, that means any application that isn’t ours but claims to offer Snapchat services violates our Terms of Use and can’t be trusted.

Snapchat has always been a fun place to share Snaps with friends. The best way to keep our community safe is a combination of security countermeasures and common sense. We’ll continue to do our part by improving Snapchat's security and calling on Apple and Google to take down third-party applications that access our API. You can help us out by avoiding the use of third-party applications.

Team Snapchat

It’s Live!

Today we’re expanding our favorite new product - Our Story - to cover more live events! When we launched Our Story at Electric Daisy Carnival we had our fingers crossed - we hoped the Snapchat community would contribute their unique point of view.

We were absolutely blown away when Snapchatters contributed over 350 hours of Snaps to Our Story during EDC, Rio, Outside Lands, and Lollapalooza. It was so much fun experiencing our favorite events with all of you!

You’ll notice today that there’s a new “Live” section beneath your Recent Updates. That’s where you’ll be able to experience Stories contributed by the Snapchat community at all sorts of events. It’s a great way to check out what’s happening around the world.

We’re so grateful for your awesome (and hilarious!) contributions to Our Story. The world has never experienced this before - it’s truly a product of the Snapchat community.

Introducing Geofilters

We’ve had a lot of fun drawing up new filters for special locations in Los Angeles and New York. Swipe right on the preview screen to check them out – they’ll change depending on which neighborhoods you’re in! Although you’ll need to enable location services for this feature, we don’t store your location.

Introducing Our Story

Snapchat has always been about sharing your point of view. That’s why our application opens straight into the camera. It’s the fastest way to share little moments with our friends – to let them know where we are or how we feel right now.

When we introduced My Story we never could have imagined how powerful it would be to string those moments together into a narrative. We love watching the day unfold with our friends.

But My Story has always represented a singular, personal experience. We wanted to build something that offered a community perspective – lots of different points of view. After all, our friends often see the same things in totally different ways.

We built Our Story so that Snapchatters who are at the same event location can contribute Snaps to the same Story. If you can’t make it to an event, watching Our Story makes you feel like you’re right there! It’s really easy to use.

We’re making Our Story available for the first time at Electric Daisy Carnival this weekend (and we’re providing free WiFi for Snapchat and Insomniac!).

If you’re at Electric Daisy Carnival, simply add a Snap to “Our EDC Story” that appears in your “Send to…” page. You’ll need to turn on location services to let Snapchat know that you’re actually at the event. We don’t store your location.

If you can’t make it to Electric Daisy Carnival, add EDCLive on Snapchat to check out the event – live – through a series of Snaps! If Our Story gets too long or we see any Snaps that look illegal, we’ll curate EDCLive to provide the best possible experience.

Our Story is already part of the application you have on your phone – there’s no need to update. Happy Snapping!

Our Agreement with the Maryland Attorney General

Today we entered into an agreement with the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland that—like our recent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission—strengthens Snapchat’s already strong commitment to our users’ privacy. Both agreements have much in common. Each resolved investigations that largely turned on how well users understood that recipients of their Snaps could save those Snaps. And each agreement concluded with Snapchat admitting no violation of any federal, state, or local law.

But there is something else that both agreements have in common: They never allege, find, or suggest that Snapchat itself retains our users’ Snaps. That’s important. From day one, we have promised our users that we delete their Snaps from our servers once they’ve been viewed by all recipients. That’s a promise we’ve always honored, and it’s one that neither the FTC nor the Maryland AG has ever questioned.

Instead, both agencies thought our users might not have fully appreciated the extent to which their Snaps could be saved by recipients, whether by taking a screenshot or using some other mechanism. Whatever the merit of that concern, it’s one that is old news by now. As we explained when we entered into our agreement, we long since revised our privacy policy and other public statements to make perfectly clear that—while Snapchat deletes all viewed Snaps from its servers—recipients can always save them.

Our agreement also addresses the Maryland AG’s concern that users under 13 not get to use the app. Notably, the Maryland AG recognizes in this agreement that Snapchat’s terms of service have always provided that the app “is intended for use by people who are 13 years of age or older.” And Snapchat has instituted a number of controls to ensure that that limit is respected. Today’s agreement simply formalizes those controls.

As we said when we announced our agreement with the FTC, Snapchat is—and always has been—devoted to promoting user privacy and giving Snapchatters control over how and with whom they communicate.

Our Agreement with the FTC

When we started building Snapchat, we were focused on developing a unique, fast, and fun way to communicate with photos. We learned a lot during those early days. One of the ways we learned was by making mistakes, acknowledging them, and fixing them.

While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have. One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community. This morning we entered into a consent decree with the FTC that addresses concerns raised by the commission. Even before today’s consent decree was announced, we had resolved most of those concerns over the past year by improving the wording of our privacy policy, app description, and in-app just-in-time notifications. And we continue to invest heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse.

We are devoted to promoting user privacy and giving Snapchatters control over how and with whom they communicate. That’s something we’ve always taken seriously, and always will.