Blog Post 3 – Privacy

Welcome friends. Im sure you have always wondered what kind of information social media forms are seeping with from the inner workings of their apps. Moreover, what kind of information about YOU they have. Snapchat in particular has access to a good bit of information about its users. I will be outlining their privacy policy and basically telling you what information they have so you don’t have to read their obnoxiously long statement.

First off Snapchat wants you to know how much control they have over other companies like Bitmoji! And they own Spectacles! So they have access to any information you give to those as well. They also want to say that their app provides “provide fast and fun ways to express yourself, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together!” How fun!

Now to the nitty gritty… The three categories of what types of information Snapchat has. Information you provide, information we get when you use our services, and information we get from third parties. Information you provide is basically anything you enter when signing up like your name, username, password, phone number, email address, and birthday, as well as your Bitmoji and maybe even a credit card number, if you provide it. The information they get when you use their services means you usage information (what kind of ads you click on, what stories you view and for how long, and even who you snap and how often, etc). This category also includes anything you create on snapchat like stickers, what kind of device you are operating the app on, your contacts and photos (if you give permission), and even your location (with consent of course). Of course like any other online service, they have your cookies information. The information they collect from third parties is a) any information you give to affiliates of snapchat like Bitmoji and Spectacles, b) information that third parties like advertisments and app developers give Snapchat, and c) information from others if they have you in their contact list. Easy enough right? Not much information at all right?

Now, you are probably wondering how and why they use this information that have collected from you… One major reason is so they can continue to develop their products and analyze crucial trends. They also want to personalize their services for each user and verify each user’s identity to keep you safe. Snapchat also argues that when they share user information, it’s because you asked them to (posting on your story, Our story, etc). Otherwise you are in control of who your info is shared with. Besides their business partners that, when required by law, help them provide services.

Since everything is deleted after viewing on snapchat, not everything is “stored” information. Other than chats and snaps, Snapchat only really stores basic account information and content you viewed.

Many people know that if you give Snapchat permission to see your location, you turn on Snapmaps to where those that you allow, can see your location. I interviewed my roommate, asking if these services overstepped any bounds. She told me she had her camera roll, contacts, and location services turned on for Snapchat and answered that “No, I don’t because I allowed it to have access to it”.

“Do is in anyway creep you out that other people can see your loaction on the Snapmaps?”

“Sometimes it does but again I can turn it on and off for people to see.”

Fair enough!

While Snapchat has access to your camera roll, contact list, and sometimes locations when you allow it, the government could possible be surveilling at all times. This is a common conspiracy theory among generations today. Heidi McKee for Science Direct asks a good question and something to think about: “Does your institution’s student handbook or faculty policy manual have a section on possible government interception and surveillance of Web communications on its networks?” 

Overall, Snapchat’s privacy statement is easy to follow, but time consuming. If you are at all familiar with Snapchat and their third parties, you will understand every word in the statement. You probably won’t take the time to read it, though.