Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app, can’t make its legal problems disappear.
Jens Büttner / picture-alliance/dpa file
"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," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "Any company that makes misrepresentations to consumers about its privacy and security practices risks FTC action."
Snapchat was one of the first “ephemeral messaging” apps to hit the market. It became popular by letting users send photos that disappear once they are viewed. It also introduced text and video messaging earlier this month.
The problem, the FTC case alleged, was that users could take screenshots of photos and download third party apps that save all of the content that is supposed to disappear.
The FTC also claimed that Snapchat collected email contacts from iOS users without their notice or consent and that the company failed to fix security flaws in its “Find Friends” feature that led to users send photos to complete strangers “under the false impression that they were communicating with a friend.”
"While we were focused on building, some things didn’t get the attention they could have," the company wrote in a blog post, claiming that it had resolved most of the issues raised by the FTC and it was investing "heavily in security and countermeasures to prevent abuse."
First published May 8 2014, 12:16 PM
Keith Wagstaff is a contributing writer at NBC News. He covers technology, reporting on Internet security, mobile technology and more. He joined NBC News from The Week, where he was a staff writer covering politics. Prior to his work at The Week, he was a technology writer at TIME.
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He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.