Last week the photo messaging application, Snapchat, settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and was placed on a 20 year probation for their misleading advertising campaign. The app quickly gained fame claiming that the app allowed users to send timed messages and videos that would ‘disappear forever’. As its popularity grew, loopholes to save the disappearing pictures came out of the woodwork and the app’s pledge to protect their user’s privacy was compromised, and exposed as a futile claim.
The FTC was forced to take action because of the way Snapchat misrepresented their claim to protect their users’ privacy. As a result the app was placed onto a lengthy 20 year probation and forced to change their marketing strategies and how they describe their apps services. Will this be the downfall of an app that sends 700 million photos and videos a day? Probably not. But at least they are being kept in check, and maybe the FTC’s actions will hold new applications to higher standards in the future.