Ephemeral messaging is all the rage. But it carries certain risks. The popular messaging app Snapchat, which has more than 100 million followers worldwide, has a problem that can cause confusion among its users.
According to experts at security firm Kaspersky Lab, many Snapchat users are unaware that their posts are “not really temporary”, as the app claims, so they tend to share content that they would never upload to other social networks.
Passwords are extremely important. Experts insist on the need to change them often and not reuse them.
Review privacy settings
Experts recognize that it may happen that the user who shares content may end up sending it to the wrong recipient or not to the right place.
For this reason – they say – it is necessary to check the account settings and make sure you are sharing the things you post in “My Story” only with your friends, and not with the whole world.
Be careful about accepting contacts
Another tip, and one that can be applied to all kinds of social networks, is to check your friends list to make sure they really are acquaintances. “If someone tries to add you, make sure you know them before accepting their friend request. If the user trying to add you is not someone you know, it is possible that they are a spambot or some curious person who has no reason to know anything about your life through Snapchat,” Kaspersky Lab experts maintain. In these cases they urge users to ignore these friend requests.
Be aware of the destination
There is also an option called “Live”, which consists of a collection of news about events, vacations, places or other things. However, several appreciations are worth bearing in mind. “This can be seen by everyone if they select it. So, before uploading anything, consider whether you really want to share it,” they say.
The question of temporality
One of the features Snapchat has become known for is the ability to send temporary images and videos. Users can also add content to their “Story” where it can be viewed by anyone on their friends list, but will be automatically deleted after 24 hours. “While this all sounds great, there are many ways around the temporariness of images,” experts lament.
And the simplest (and most obvious) is the ability to take a screenshot on mobile. “Being fast enough, you can easily take a screenshot of any message received, so you can keep it on your phone for as long as you want.” Despite everything, the person who sent the image will receive a notification about this action, but the one who took the screenshot will still have the image anyway.
It is also very important to emphasize that anything posted on the Internet does not usually “disappear”. The latest clauses in Snapchat’s terms and conditions state that the app has “the right to store and share any photo that is posted on the app”. Although the company claims to do so only at specific and necessary times, this brings with it a whole host of potential privacy issues for users, “so it’s important to be cautious about photos taken via this app.”
Avoid connecting third-party applications
Another recommendation for those concerned about the privacy of their photos is not to connect any third-party apps to the Snapchat account. “These sources are usually less secure. Many users learned this the hard way in a massive photo leak that occurred in 2014 that uploaded more than 90,000 Snapchat photos to a third-party website called SnapSaved.com. Many of the photos included explicit content and it is clear that the people involved did not intend for them to spread across the internet.