Snapchat settles with US regulators for deceiving users

Evan Spiegel and Snapchat logo Image copyright AP
Image caption Snapchat, founded by 23-year-old Evan Spiegel, has been growing rapidly

Ephemeral messaging service Snapchat has settled with US regulators over charges it deceived users when it promised their messages would disappear.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Snapchat misled users over data collection and failed to inform them that their messages could be saved.

As part of the agreement, Snapchat agreed to be monitored by the FTC for 20 years.

Snapchat did not admit any wrongdoing.

"While we were focused on building, some things didn't get the attention they could have," said Snapchat in a blog post.

"One of those was being more precise with how we communicated with the Snapchat community."

Growing pains

The rapidly-growing messaging application, which allows users to send photos and videos that then self-delete after a short period of time, reportedly turned down a multi-billion dollar offer from Facebook.

Founded in 2011 by 23-year-old Evan Spiegel, Snapchat said that as of May, users were sending over 700 million photos and videos a day.

However, that stunning growth has come with some costs: in January, a security breach allowed hackers to get the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million users.

That happened after security experts had warned the firm about a vulnerability in the "find friends" feature.

"If a company markets privacy and security as key selling points in pitching its service to consumers, it is critical that it keep those promises," said FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a statement.

There was not a financial component to the settlement.

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