Yikes: Snapchat Doesn’t Delete Your Photos After All, It Just Hides Them

If you’re into Snapchat, you know that the app’s entire premise is based on the idea that users can freely send any type of photo they want (read: naked) knowing it’ll delete in seconds. Well, turns out that was nothing but a pipe dream for Android users, as the social media platform hasn’t been deleting them after all—just hiding them. Internet 1, humanity, 0.

snapchat not deleting photos1 Yikes: Snapchat Doesnt Delete Your Photos After All, It Just Hides Them

According to the Guardian, one enterprising forensic researcher discovered that it’s quite possible to uncover “deleted” photos using the right software, as well as gain access to users’ contacts, too.  The worst part is that none of this is outlined in the social media platform’s privacy policy.

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For its part, Snapchat issued a offensively insouciant response, admitting that yes, technically it’s possible to retrieve the deleted photos, but it’s super-difficult (one glance at the Guardian‘s tech-speak, and you’ll see that’s very true.)

“If you’ve ever tried to recover lost data after accidentally deleting a drive or maybe watched an episode of CSI, you might know that with the right forensic tools, it’s sometimes possible to retrieve data after it has been deleted. So… you know… keep that in mind before putting any state secrets in your selfies :)” Snapchat wrote.

But it is possible, which means that the company fully misrepresented its practices. Or, to put it more succinctly, liar liar pants on fire.  

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Luckily, the matter is being handled swiftly by The Federal Trade Commission, whose goal is to make sure that all the apps we use are marketed truthfully, and that privacy promises are kept.

According to the FTC’s website, Snapchat “will be prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information. In addition, the company will be required to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by an independent privacy professional for the next 20 years.”

So, bottom line: If you’re an Andriod user who’s okay knowing that your Snapchats won’t technically disappear into thin air, then by all means, keep on, well, snapping. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea that savvy hackers can access them, you might want to rethink which social media apps you use (or, at least, the types of photos you’re sharing.)