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Snapchat says third-party software apps are to blame for any security lapses that may have put users’ private photos at risk of being leaked online by hackers. Bloggers and anonymous users of the 4chan Internet forum said as many as 200,000 Snapchat photos may have been stolen from a third-party Snapchat app and that the hackers were preparing to publish them online. The alleged hack, dubbed “The Snappening,” could not be independently verified. “We can confirm that Snapchat’s servers were never breached and were not the source of these leaks. Snapchatters were allegedly victimized by their use of third-party apps to send and receive Snaps, a practice that we expressly prohibit in our Terms of Use precisely because they compromise our users’ security,” Snapchat said in a statement Friday.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to send each other images and videos that automatically disappear after a few seconds. The service is particularly popular among teens, who often use it to send racy pics to friends and admirers. Several third-party apps have emerged that allow users to save the Snapchat images they receive. This summer, an unrelated hack of Apple iCloud accounts resulted in the posting online of nude photos of actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities.



— Reuters and NBC News staff