Snapchat discovers permissionless innovation has consequences

Snapchat, the social media app who late last year turned down Facebook's three billion dollar offer, will instead be paying the piper. In this case, the pipe is the FTC.

According to ABC news:

Snapchat has agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over charges that it deceived customers about the disappearing nature of messages sent through its service and that it collected users' contacts without telling them or asking permission.

Snapchat will now be monitored by outside privacy experts (i.e. not the government) for the next twenty years. They could be fined as much as sixteen thousand dollars per violation. That's a lot of money for dick picks.

As we've been seeing lately, their blog post offers a weak mea culpa, not really denying wrong doing but side stepping the idea that they wanted your information from the start. Here's the very, very carefully worded non-apology from their blog post. It's so carefully worded, in its non-apology aw shucks humblebragging and outright smarminess, it sounds like Goldieblox helped them write it. (Emphasis in bold is mine)

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.

Yes they've taken it so seriously, they left a huge gaping hole in their privacy standards until someone raised a fuss about it. They took it so seriously, they collected data until the FTC started investigating. They care about your privacy so much they had to write a post to let you know, they've taken steps to actually make it private.

Hands up if you still believe Social Media companies have your best interest at heart.

*looks around Adland.*

*sees no hands up.*

That's what I thought.

AnonymousCoward's picture
Dabitch's picture

This is a really important event and it's frankly disturbing that people in tech (in general) don't seem to be losing their collective shit over it. Or users! Have we all sat in the boiling water for too long?

kidsleepy's picture

No. We've all been asleep at the wheel.

Dabitch's picture