Snapchat settles with FTC and agrees to biannual audits

Snapchat has agreed to biannual, independent third party audits for the next 20 years as part of its settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The company had allegedly violated the FTC Act by deceiving customers with promises about the disappearing nature of the messages sent via the service. In addition, the FTC said that the company deceived consumers over the amount of personal data it collected and the security measures taken.

The company now promises not to misrepresent its privacy, security, or confidentiality policies, including but not limited to:

  • The extent to which a message is deleted after being viewed by the recipient;
  • The extent to which the Snapchat company or its products or services are capable of detecting or notifying the sender when a recipient has captured a screenshot of, or otherwise saved, a message;
  • The categories of covered information collected; or
  • The steps taken to protect against misuse or unauthorized disclosure of covered information.

Snapchat has agreed to establish and implement a comprehensive privacy programme. The company is also obliged to deliver a copy of the FTC order to all current and future subsidiaries, and all current and future employees.

The settlement was issued on 23 December 2014.