Snapchat clarifies privacy policy that appears to allow it to look at private pictures

The site claims that the changes were just to make the policy more readable

Snapchat has clarified a privacy policy that appears to allow it to look at the private pictures of people using its service.

The company hit the news this week because of changes to its privacy policy, which people criticised for apparently giving the Snapchat free rein to look at people’s snaps and broadcast them. But it has instead claimed that the biggest changes to its terms were intend to make them “read the way people actually talk”.

The site said that it is true that the terms “grant us a broad license to use the content you create”, including publishing it, but said that such a rule was common among similar services. It is used for instance when users send their snaps to Live Stories, which shows snaps created by people around the world in public forums.

But it said that there had been no change to how public snaps were, and that it wouldn’t be broadcasting any other pictures.

“First off, we want to be crystal clear: The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update,” the site wrote in a blog posted in response to a run of critical articles.

“Our Privacy Policy continues to say—as it did before—that those 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 company said that as well as making the wording more straightforward, it had also added new rules that governed its in-app purchases — which allow people to pay to watch apparently deleted snaps again — and to make clear what information about people will be shared publicly.

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