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Snapchat, You've Made a Huge Mistake (etanzapinsky.com)
260 points by etanz 1625 days ago | hide | past | web | 120 comments | favorite



Most of the comments are focused on the author's trivial mistake (when was this information surfaced: now, or at launch?). His substantive point is more valuable to bring to light.

Perhaps the fact that there are top-users lists highlights the tension between what Snapchat says that people use it for (sharing brief moments with friends) vs what people actually use it for.

In fact, I actually use Snapchat for sharing photos with friends, and I still would prefer that this network information disappear. The existence of a top list suggests that there is quite a bit of metadata retained long after the photos are (ostensibly) destroyed.

It implies that the company is building a database that could be used to reconstruct an enormous network diagram.


> It implies that the company is building a database that could be used to reconstruct an enormous network diagram.

It's actually fun and trivial to do this yourself with a spider: go to http://www.snapchat.com/username, mark 'best friendships' as followthroughs. A fun thing you notice pretty quickly is that the 'best friend' designation isn't one-to-one, prolific snappers will appear often in peoples' friends lists.

I think a SnapChat API is likely on the way, and once they figure out a way to market this stuff to advertisers (hey, ten seconds of undivided attention towards an ad is probably worth more than thirty seconds of ignoring a commercial) they're going to have a whole new host of problems.


That's the day I stop using it. If I get a few second ad every 4 or 5 snaps then I won't continue my usage of the app. I understand that good things that require monetary value to continue operating at scale need to have a way to make money, but advertising should be a last-resort option. We haven't even seen for-pay snaps yet (more seconds, more options like random clip-art to add in, etc). Advertising kills the product 9 times out of 10.


I'm on the opposite end there. I would never pay money for extra snap options. I'd much rather see ads if choosing between the two.


Those two aren't all the options though.

1.) Pay for SnapPro 2.) Sit through advertisements 3.) Let people who want to pay for SnapPro pay, while you don't because you don't want to pay for it. Therefore no ads, and Snapchat is making money.

Option 3 is the best for consumers. Option 3 is possible if the price-point dictates that enough people will pay for it to remain alive and well. Not everyone will pay. But when is that not always the case?


You've been brainwashed. The best option for consumers is for it to be free, with no ads.


No, it's not. That ends with no service existing at all. Money has to come from somewhere for the service.


Does this really need to be a centralized service though?

Isn't this the sort of thing that could be implemented as a peer-to-peer networking service?


That doesn't get away from the issue of payment, it just moves it around. I think it does so in a way with a lot of positives, but there's the whole P2P bootstrapping problem in the way, both in terms of creating the code that even works and then actually bringing the network online, and unfortunately it seems that's a pretty big negative in practice.


It just "moves it around" to the point where the cost is so spread out as to be effectively zero. What's the average cost of a volunteer-run peer to peer file sharing network?


How many computers running P2P software does it take to write the software?

You can only talk about the "all but 0" marginal cost when you can produce a piece of software that really does have an all-but-0 marginal cost. And, therefore, doesn't require the computer running it to be always on, or run on a dedicated VM, etc. Sure, such a thing may be possible, but you have to produce it first.

Unfortunately.


The cost comes in the labor of the organization that needs to bootstrap and maintain the network of volunteers - this includes marketing to them that it's safe and worthwhile to load software onto their computer. For instance, SETI@home has a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year: http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/sah_budget.php . Who would donate to Snapchat@home when it's just as easy to get Snapchat+ads on your phone?


See the Diaspora project for how great/easy P2P social networking is. Getting P2P working on bandwidth and port limited smartphone connections sounds like a nightmare.


No. It couldn't be a peer-to-peer setup because you couldn't guarantee that all peers would delete photos after they expire. This has to be centralized in order to guarantee that.


Well, you could have only one user (such as the sender) hold the decryption key and be willing to securely send it only to the recipient within a given expiry... The distributed data could still be floating around but would be unreadable.

There are plenty of distributed designs which could be secure and "read once within a time period".

(btw, a distributed network topology can look isomorphic to a centralized topology at the application layer. You seem to have a highly simplistic map of the territory.)


because it's best for consumers when things they like go away?


Exactly my point. Option 3 is free for everyone with optional purchases for those that want it. The parent of my comment would rather see ads than purchase Pro. But those aren't mutually exclusive. He/She can still not see ads and not purchase pro while Snapchat makes money.


I certainly wouldn't complain about option 3... but I'd be very weary of whether that would be /enough/ for Snapchat.


Spot-on. If people would stop playing "gotcha" and focus on the substance of this post, we'd have much more substantial and valuable conversation.

Snapchat has always positioned itself as a temporal messaging app, where anything goes - but only for a few seconds. It's always meant to be the foil to our Facebook, Google+, et. al., culture of heavy-hitting, abundant, follow-you-everywhere data trails. Why they would embrace this functionality - betraying their core value-proposition - is puzzling.

Whether this data has been theoretically accessible for some time now is somewhat immaterial - unless we're collectively proving our cleverness by correcting the author. The take-away is that Snapchat has seemingly flipped it's core promise - a non-permanent trail and ostensible privacy - by including this "top friends" feature.


Snapchat proves there is a huge market for privacy. The secondary issue is trusting that the privacy is as advertised. Developers should seize on both.


I hadn't thought of it this way but yes, it does.

However, the trust part is extremely difficult. Savvy users know that they can't trust 3rd parties with data and usually talk about encryption, self-hosting, P2P etc (that kind of stuff). i.e. not really 'trust' per se but more that privacy is 'built in'. Normal users (the vast majority), don't understand this stuff so the only thing they can do is have some faith in the company/service and carry on blindly (until they get burned).

Trying educate your market is a sure-fire way to go out of business. I don't know how developers can seize this without users already understanding why security/privacy (at a technical level) matters.


Some friends of mine made a webapp at PennApps to visualize your Snapchat social graph by scraping the public profiles:

http://snapgraph.me/

Even if Snapchat isn't making a big network diagram it's certainly possible to create one.


Today lots of posts on privacy...

To those saying that if you have nothing to hide you should not have a problem with this, you are missing some points, and situations...

For example, sometimes you do things that are controversial, but not necessarily wrong, or "sketchy", and you don't want the negative attention.

For example, regarding the Verizon call list: What if people discover you have made lots of calls to KKK? They will quickly jump to conclusion that you are probably a neo-nazi, but maybe you was like that black guy that made a KKK documentary (I forgot the name, I saw in school many years ago, a teacher showed us) and interacted a lot with them.

Or snapchat, what if you are exchanging photos with people with some other people dislike? You never had friends that hate each other? Or your mom that hate your girlfriend? Or your wife that hate your uncle?

There are lots of situations where privacy is important, and beyond commiting crimes or being a anti-government rebel...


To those saying that if you have nothing to hide you should not have a problem with this, you are missing some points, and situations...

In addition, the idea that privacy is necessary to a full life and full persona has been addressed by an array of scholars and privacy experts; consider Decew's In Pursuit of Privacy: Law, Ethics, and the Rise of Technology as one good place to start.


What if people discover you have made lots of calls to KKK? They will quickly jump to conclusion that you are probably a neo-nazi, but maybe you was like that black guy that made a KKK documentary

The thing is, Verizon isn't handing over identities. This isn't to absolve Verizon here at all, but to illustrate that the US Government can't find terrorists this way.


... that we know of.

Just because the confidential subpoena that was leaked didn't specify the release of identifying information doesn't indicate the government doesn't already have that data to cross-reference.

Also, at least in the U.S., I believe landline numbers are public record, so if you're calling your wife on the ol' landline...


Interesting argument, but don't you think the NSA/FBI are just just going to say "we're not collecting/analyzing enough data"?


Sure, but politicians are saying that it's necessary to find terrorists, but this warrant doesn't help that happen. Unless, of course, they correlate it with other data they have, which was perhaps collected warrantlessly and therefore possibly inadmissable in court. After all, Bush engaged in illegal wiretapping for 5 years before the 7 years since Section 215 took effect. I doubt they've thrown that data away.


Your counter argument to verizon call list is: what if a black guy is calling the KKK?

Not that I'm pro verizon, just that is a very poor example.


I think he was trying to grab an example that would be easy to jump to conclusions about (calls to the KKK)


It's a poor example. If I were black, I'd be pretty unconcerned about the possibility of my friends and family thinking I'm a Klansman, no matter what my phone records say.


Probably you misunderstand example.

> They will quickly jump to conclusion that you are probably a neo-nazi, but maybe you was like that black guy that made a KKK documentary (I forgot the name, I saw in school many years ago, a teacher showed us) and interacted a lot with them.

It does not means that you would be black, it means only that you would be making KKK documentary like that black guy.


You've been able to see this online now for... a long time. Just go to http://www.snapchat.com/<username>; and you can see it.


I'm glad someone pointed this out. This feature has always existed. You didn't even have to do it through your web browser, Snapchat has always had a link within the app to view the profiles of your friends (including their "best friends").


Exactly, I'm not sure why this suddenly became news. Did nobody bother to tap a name in their friends list in the last 6 months?


seems like http://www.snapchat.com/sexgod696969 is doing really well.

on a related note. it would be amusing to trace all these relationships by scraping the site for common usernames and then following jumping down through their friends list.


I assume this showed a big friends list earlier? they seem to have limited the display to 3 friends.


This has been circulating in my mind for some time now. It seems to me that Silicon Valley is so obsessed with "home run" start ups that we've lost track of caring if they make our lives better.

I'm not necessarily making a moral judgement on Snapchat but I do think it is something to consider. You can see the same mentality around Chatroulette. I realize the value of something is not concrete at first; Twitter comes to mind. I think we all agree that Twitter plays an important role in society today, yet that was unclear a few years ago.

As a society, are we rallying behind an app that helps people engage in extramarital affairs as this post suggests? Without getting into morality, don't we agree that affairs impact not just the two participants but the families surrounding them?

Are we simply justifying our obsession with "success" by attributing some theoretical benefit when the drawbacks seem obvious?


As a society, are we really rallying behind an app that helps people engage in extramarital affairs as this post suggests? Without getting into morality don't we agree that affairs impact not just the two participants but the families surrounding them?

I use SnapChat daily and its starting to cannibalize a lot of my other methods of communication: its fast, more personal, more affective, and a lot more fun to use. I only have ~forty SnapChat friends compared to the ~1200 on Facebook or ~300 phone numbers I have, and it makes it a lot more intimate: you're not gonna send a goofy face of yourself to that study partner from freshman Biology who you never talk to.

(Honestly, it reminds me of what Path could be if Path wasn't so pretentious.)

Oh, and email helps people commit extramarital affairs, too.


I'm sure there are useful scenarios like yours. But that alone doesn't magically make the app have a net positive impact. I'm not claiming it is positive or negative but rather something to consider.

The comment about email isn't really logical. Crow bars help you kill people but that doesn't mean we should treat them the same way as guns. I'm sure there is a technical term for it (logical fallacy) but that's besides my point and I'm on mobile :).


The comment about email isn't really logical. Crow bars help you kill people but that doesn't mean we should treat them the same way as guns. I'm sure there is a technical term for it (logical fallacy) but that's besides my point and I'm on mobile :).

This is exactly my point.


>> This is exactly my point.

Not sure I follow. Are you saying that "crow bars kill people too, so we shouldn't have legislation for guns that don't also apply to crow bars?"

If so, we probably disagree fundamentally on debates - which is fine but an important point.


My point is that SnapChat is a crowbar, not a gun. A lot of talk about SnapChat revolves around affairs and sexting because that gets more page views, but there's really no proof that people are using it primarily for amoral reasons. The totality of people I know use it just for goofy temporal messages (and, yeah, occasional sexts to their S.O., but nothing they wouldn't otherwise do via SMS)


I think youre arguing against someone with an agenda, they cant possibly be this stupid.


If the majority of SnapChat users are using it to have extra-marital affairs, there may be something to it. SnapChat wasn't created because we as a society were lacking in communication tools.


Alright, I'll go there: What is wrong with developing an app that is used for extra-marital affairs, even if that is its explicit purpose?

For the sake of argument, lets just say that extra-marital affairs being immoral is axiomatic (I don't agree, but that is not going to be a productive discussion). The two people who made vows are the ones with the moral obligation, not the rest of society. Every individual third party is not part of that arrangement, and who are they to second guess somebody who is in that agreement? Both are consenting adults, there is no justification for us telling them what to do. If they want to promise each other something, and then go back on that promise, that is entirely between them.


Offspring.


> As a society, are we rallying behind an app that helps people engage in extramarital affairs as this post suggests? Without getting into morality, don't we agree that affairs impact not just the two participants but the families surrounding them?

I think that line of reasoning is projecting far too much onto a photo sharing service. I use it to share silly photos with friends. Just because someone else uses it to conduct an extramarital affair doesn't make the service per se immoral.


Yeah. I'm not making any moral judgements or conclusions. Just stating an observation. I definitely don't think Snapchat in and of itself is immoral. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't consider the net effects of the app.

It could be that Snapchat is terribly useful.


Just because you are cheating on your wife doesn't mean that everyone else is too.


Not sure what this means.


> This has been circulating in my mind for some time now. It seems to me that Silicon Valley is so obsessed with "home run" start ups that we've lost track of caring if they make our lives better.

You're just now coming to terms with this? Jesus Christ, we're doomed.


>I'm not necessarily making a moral judgement on Snapchat but I do think it is something to consider. You can see the same mentality around Chatroulette. I realize the value of something is not concrete at first; Twitter comes to mind. I think we all agree that Twitter plays an important role in society today, yet that was unclear a few years ago.

I tend to assign the values the other way around; Snapchat seems like something people get a lot of fun from (and I don't mean affairs, just friends sending each other pictures they don't want to post publicly). It's not a "worthy cause", but it's a moral good, possibly the greatest such thing.

Conversely twitter seems like a net negative; the main way it impacts me is that news organizations now seem to think it's ok to publish comments from random people as if they were news. And people in fora like this seem to think they can dismiss an idea by linking to a witty tweet about it. It's a dumbing down of discourse and I'm seeing no upside; I think I would genuinely have a better life, and be happier, if twitter didn't exist.


Interesting points. I agree that "fun" is a valuable thing, or can be anyways.

Twitter isn't perfect but one thing if does is to give a voice to those who didn't have one before. I'm thinking specifically of oppressive governments and the affected citizens or folks being harassed by law enforcement.

I hope that benefit outweighs the media's misuse of it.


>Twitter isn't perfect but one thing if does is to give a voice to those who didn't have one before. I'm thinking specifically of oppressive governments and the affected citizens or folks being harassed by law enforcement.

Does it really help with that? I'd think for anything important you'd want to spend more than 160 characters explaining it; long-form blogs and tumblr seem like a more effective way to spread such stories. E.g. the report of events in Turkey that was on HN a couple of days ago was fascinating, and I suspect quite influential - and I don't think it would've been anywhere near as effective as a tweet.


I think both have their place. Twitter serves as a real time stream of events. Longer form posts are useful in a different way.


As a society, are we rallying behind an app that helps people engage in extramarital affairs as this post suggests? Without getting into morality, don't we agree that affairs impact not just the two participants but the families surrounding them?

Say, abused/neglected person looking for a way out, but not feeling safe without some sort of social support outside of marriage. Don't be too quick to judge.


Both Facebook and Snapchat were created by students in college to suddenly explode in popularity.

I'm definitely not a Mark Zuckerberg fan, but imagine one of your hobby projects suddenly turning into this phenomenon, when you probably just created it for a certain social circle.

I think we should cut "incidental start-ups" some slack for a while, but Snapchat definitely need to do something about their privacy, especially since it goes against the entire value proposition.


> I think we should cut "incidental start-ups" some slack for a while

Agree. I'm just not sure we're taking the "effect" of a start up into consideration when we put them up on pedestals.

Perhaps there isn't interest in the "effect", which is what I was alluding to.


"I think we all agree that Twitter plays an important role in society today"

Uh, how does Twitter play an important role in society?


Subjective, I guess. But many movements in countries with oppressive regimes use Twitter heavily to spread information.


That's very nice, but also very localized.

In most other countries I'd value Twitter's contribution to society about as much as McDonalds commercials...


The Oscar Grant shooting by police in a BART station in Oakland, CA is another of many examples. I don't think it's localized at all.

I'm not saying this makes up a majority of tweets. Most tweets are pretty meaningless, IMO.


I find Snapchat's charter fascinating. I say this as the author of a competing, and much less successful, product called Privy (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.appidio.pr...).

I wrote Privy with a very simple use case in mind. It was for sending messages that you never want to resurface. Privacy, of course, was paramount.

After reading a few interviews with the Snapchat guys, I was amused that they always pitched it to be about temporal communications. They would downplay Snapchat as a secretive transport and talk about how it's more about sharing special moments. These new "un-private" features very clearly show that Snapchat is sincere about this use case.

It simply never occurred to me that people might want to send temporal messages and that privacy around sending those messages not be absolutely critical. I don't know if I'm out of touch or what. Or maybe this is more of a natural selection thing for successful mobile messaging products. Obviously the network effect of a privacy-oriented app is by definition nonexistent. Trust me.


You can't build a system that only lets a user view something in the way you claim on untrusted hardware, such as a cell phone: it is an hour of work and a few lines of code to entirely defeat your security. Snapchat really could not claim they can provide that, as they can't. While Snapchat somewhat relies on some confusion regarding this, their description is at least honest that this is an impossible problem, and their wording is largely based on the idea that they can't even keep the user from performing a very simple screenshot.


I do not know much about privy, but as a competitor - why do you feel snapchat was more successful?


I think they were more successful because of marketing. Initially, Privy and Snapchat were fairly close to feature parity. I had never actually heard of them while I was developing Privy. And then about a month or so before I was ready to release Privy, SnapChat hit the TechCrunch lottery. After that they quickly became a media sensation.

Being a side project, Privy wasn't able to compete. Especially after they started picking up funding. Once the Snapchat buzz hit full fever pitch I threw in the towel on development.

I used to think that useful apps could sell themselves. I know a lot of developers have this mentality. Nothing could be further from the truth. I now have much greater respect for the value of good marketing.


This is an incorrect history of Snapchat. Snapchat was a couple of college kids' summer project. It had a couple of thousand of users in the Fall of 2011, but didn't take off until it went viral in a couple of LA high schools.

They raised money in the Spring of 2012, and were still relatively under the radar of most tech publications. It wasn't until the Fall of 2012 that they started getting major buzz.

I'm not disagreeing that marketing can't sway products into success, but that was not the case with Snapchat.


read the 2nd last sentence


`unlike snap chat there is no account setup required`

So do you authenticate with IMEI or phone number?


There is no authentication. Message is uploaded to server and then the sender's phone sends an SMS message with a query string authenticated URL to the recipient.

That way the system never knows the sender's identity or to whom the message was sent.


"Facebook makes it extremely clear that they never give away this information"

Not a quick learner, I'm afraid.


Exactly. They wouldn't give it away. They'd sell it at an exorbitant price. That's not giving it away.


I remember at one point there was a FB app that told you who spent the most time looking at your profile, then generated a photo and tagged people in it. Hilariously I was the top person on my GF's sister's one, not sure why. Not sure where they got the data for that...


Pretty positive all the apps like this were either just random data or fake. I could be wrong, but I believe that none of these apps ever actually worked


Isn't this pretty much exactly what Google got in trouble for with the Buzz launch?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Buzz#Legal_issues


If you login to Facebook, go to the search bar and type in the letter A, you will see a list of your friends whose name (first/middle/last) starts with an A, but it's sorted based on who you are most likely to be looking for. I don't know exactly how they determime this since it could be based on so many factors like messaging, profile viewing, searching, photo tagging, shared events... even pokes!

It's spooky accurate and yet Facebook goes out of their way to never mention this kind of thing: they don't want us to realize how well they know us!


This is a perfect example of what has been said about the recent revelation that the NSA is collecting the metadata for all phone calls (calling number, called number, etc.): you can learn a lot about a person just by knowing who they've communicated with and how often, without having to know anything about the actual content of the communication. If your girlfriend sees that someone with a female name she's never heard of is your number one Snapchat contact, that's probably all she needs to know.


Hey, that's my Nana who likes to keep tabs on me!


Back when huge companies were being made thanks to viral games on Facebook, the CEO of Arkadium came and gave a talk at the NY Gaming Meetup.

He said, do some potential users get annoyed with all the gifting and invites and requests for help? Sure! But those are not the users that are going to get your viral coefficient over 1 (each user brings in more than one other user) and trigger geometric growth. So even if you miss out on some users because you write a game that is very social, you are still doing the right thing, because the social users are the one who make you a hit.

Same thing here. Are a few privacy minded individuals like the author going to abandon the service? Sure. Are they worth as much to the company as users that will revel in social graphs and drag friends in? No way. Is it a mistake to add social graphing in this case? No it isn't.


If you want to check out an alternative, our nCryptedCloud iOS has a secure camera that would encrypt the image (in memory) before it even gets to the device. Once encrypted, you manage access rights. You revoke access to anyone in the future that even if they have the image, without the privilege, the file is useless. You could also send a quick share (time-controlled SnapChat style) with anyone--pdf files too! It's free, check it out: https://www.ncryptedcloud.com/install/ios/ (for non-us regions, just add: ?region=non-us to the URL). If you have question, just ask!


All seems very pointless when you can 1) Take a screenshot, or 2) take a photo of it.

Once you give someone the ability to see or hear something, there is no guaranteed way to take it back.

I say this because: "You revoke access to anyone in the future that even if they have the image, without the privilege, the file is useless"


Even the foremost thinker in security, Dan Geer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Geer), once said: "...The most serious attackers will probably get in no matter what you do. At this point, the design principal, if you’re a security person working inside a firm, is not no failures, but no silent failures."

In the same respect, you can't really stop people from taking screenshots or take a photo of... a photo. What we do is we put a watermark of the recipient in the image. This way, if that image get released anywhere, you knew who was the culprit and you can take further actions.

No box is ever impenetrable, then the next best thing is to know when, what, why, whom of the penetration. I hope that helps. It is a difficult problem to solve, however, we have to do something!

Thank you for your thoughts.

-V.


A watermark won't help me with at an anonymous service like snapchat.


That sounds like a DMCA violation and so does telling other people how to circumvent a copyright protection mechanism.


As many have already pointed out in other comments, it definitely was already a feature. I would just add that I think the author still has a valid point, though, because this new update does bring a lot more light on that feature. I would say before this update, it was a pretty "hidden"/unknown feature. I wonder if more users will speak up about it in their reviews now that it's much more obvious to access that information.


I disagree with etanz's post, and think it makes sense for Snapchat to make this feature more accessible (as others have pointed out, profiles have existed on the web for a long time).

In particular, the people we communicate with is not "one of our tightest guarded secrets," especially among the teenage demographic. The term 'bff', for example, has meaning because teenagers like to declare their relationships publicly. Of course our friendships define who we are, and we use those friendships to express our identity in the same way we use fashion to express our identity.

I doubt a large part of Snapchat's usage is for extramarital affairs and the like, and the company is probably happy to make the app less useful for that, and more useful for communication between friends. By making the top friends visible, if user A looks at user B's profile and sees herself as third in the list, and is jealous of the people in the first two spots, then the best thing for user A to do about it is... send more snaps.


This reminds me of this article[1] that nicely outlines that the social network graph is either useless (see Facebook; what good is the fact that I have added 10000 users as "friend"?) or creepy (now Snapchat, apparently).

[1] http://blog.pinboard.in/2011/11/the_social_graph_is_neither/


Stop being sketchy and it won't be a big deal.


Eric Schmidt, is that you?


Interesting that this would bubble to the top today in light of the Verizon FISA story.

The White House and others defending the practice keep repeating “it’s just metadata.”

Knowing exactly who you talk to, when, where, and for how long can expose a lot about you and be pretty incriminating!


Snapchat has had the leaderboard / friends page since launch. How is this new? This has been like this for ages. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what OP is saying, but I don't understand why this is being addressed this late into the app's life.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't this been there for a while? I know classmates who have been mortified when they find out that who they Snapchat with is public.


Yea, it's been there for at least 8 months, when I started using it.


I was quite upset that the author seems to think people have a right to deceitful behavior and that society should support secrecy. In fact, the hiding of information and duplicit behavior always aims to benefit the actor at the expense of everyone else (rather than being win win.) This is the definition of anti-social!

If everybody had perfect transparency, it'd happily give up my privacy, because it would benefit society (you, me, us all) tremendously!


It appears as though the author is unaware that this feature has been here the entire time. This 'leaderboard' has always been accessible to anyone and everyone. In the past it was an out of app mechanism, I would have to go to the site and go to made up example url: snapchat/user/Mitchella to find the information but it would still show my 'score' and my 'most snapchatted to list.


This feature has been around since launch I believe


I don't personally mind people seeing information like this about me, but I can see why it's a bit of an invasion. I just learned who gets the most snapchats from who on my friends list. I think a lot of people will either love or hate this.

Love this because they're exempt from the downsides and they have juicy details on their friends.

Hate this because their own details are now public.


I'm now getting 404 errors for the web profiles:

http://www.snapchat.com/username

...but I was building a crawler for fun and have been making tons of requests - the other pages seem to be working just fine. Anyone else having trouble? Did Snapchat do the right thing and shut down user profiles?


It appears they did!


Nope - looks like it's back online, at least for me. I think the response is just timing out, perhaps a heavy traffic issue.


If you are surprised a "free" service is collecting data, please lookup the word 'gullible' in the dictionary.

Nothing is free kids.


Don't bother. Contrary to popular belief, "gullible" is not a real word and is not in the dictionary.


I agree that Snapchat needs to be more forthright about what kind of information they store and what actually happens to the photos. But I kind of feel like if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry. If you do have something to hide, maybe it would be worth your time to find a different app.


Can someone explain to me how Snapchat photos are considered ephemeral? Anyone can capture data at the endpoint and persist it. E.g. I can take a screenshot of a photo sent to me, and it will be in my iPhoto archive forever. I can share it from there to my entire contact list.

What am I missing? Please educate me.


It tells the sender if you screenshot. It's not enough to prevent it from happening, but it adds a pretty big social incentive not to do so.


How reliable is that? I can't imagine the snapchat app can know if some third party app grabs an image of the screen and does not notify it that a screenshot has been taken.

At the most basic level you can use one phone to take a photo of another phone. If the object is to expose an embarassing photo, that may be enough resolution to accomplish the end. I really think it is impossible to secure the data once it is on a client.


I'm bothered by the tone and inclusive language of this post. Of course an inspection of one's private conversations is intrusive and will make them uncomfortable, but this isn't true for all: "We get incredibly offending[sic] when someone reads our text messages, but even if they never see the messages themselves we are still embarrassed the second they see who we are talking to."

I'm not embarrassed by the people I communicate with - hell that would make my friends list on facebook a nightmare! And when you see my snapchat best friends, it's my girlfriend and 1 other guy and 1 other girl - my 2 top traveling friends. We use snapchat while on the road to share funny, temporal traveling moments that don't warrant setting up a real shot or publication. And it's a lot of fun.

I suppose if you need anonymity for your snaps you shouldn't be sharing your username with those you trust. And you shouldn't be trusted, either.


Never downloaded or used Snapchat... but I know very clearly what some of the use-cases are.

Clearly the solution is just to create a toggle for that feature in Settings. Boom... make your "being shady" user persona happy in a matter of minutes.


This has been part of the product since launch. Not a huge mistake.


Someone could write a horde of snapchat bots that'll spam you when you follow them (and a local client to chatter back), thus pushing your real "bestfriends" off the top list.


There's even an easy way to explore your own (and others') snapchat graph: http://snapgraph.me/


Yes, this was available on the website, but how often do Snapchatters use the web instead of using the mobile app?

It's a reverse of Instagram's approach.


Gmail did exactly the same thing. Remember the circles(?) privacy snafu?


I deleted my SnapChat because of this.


Is there a way to turn this off?


so in other words, it causes drama, which will generate more user activity.


yeah it has been at launch and it is brutal. does clearing your feed delete your top friends? they badly need a way to clear or disable top friends, otherwise using snapchat with the opposite gender is a jealousy-magnet-clusterfuck with significant others when they see it... speaking from experience


If you are looking for snapchat for adults without the Best Friends feature check out www.ncryptedcloud.com

The private camera function is much better than Snapchat because I can send my private photos to ANYONE not just someone who has Snapchat.

The ability to watermark the image with the email or the phone number of my friends is WAY better than a notice that someone took a screen shot IMHO.


This kind of spammy comment is not appreciated. Based on a quick read of your site, your product isn't even remotely similar to SnapChat. Why would you damage your brand by leaving misleading comments like this?




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