BUSINESS

Snapchat Denies 'Stockpiling' Users' Private Images

11/02/2015 04:47 EST | Updated 11/02/2016 05:12 EDT
The makers of Snapchat have issued a clarification about their privacy policy after rumours began to circulate that they were "stockpiling" private photos. 

Snapchat is a popular mobile messaging app that lets people send photos, videos and messages that disappear in a few seconds. A recent update to the app also brought an update to its privacy policy and terms of service. 

Some of the changes to these documents raised concerns among users, particularly sections on the company's use of the images users share and use of a user's name, likeness and voice "anywhere in the world, with no restriction, on all media and distribution channels, forever." 

Actor and former White House civil servant Kal Penn was among those sharing annotated screen shots of the new documents. 

"First off, we want to be crystal clear: The snaps and chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update," read a blog post from Snapchat. 

The company said the updates to the terms of service were for clarity and for allowing the selling of replays of some media shared between users. 

As well, a feature of the app called Live Stories allows users who are at the same event or location to contribute their images to a common article. Snapchat sells advertising on those stories and says the changes to the terms of service grants the company licence to do that. 

"It's true that our terms of service grant us a broad license to use the content you create — a licence that's common to services like ours," the company said. 

"But the important point is that Snapchat is not — and never has been — stockpiling your private snaps or chats."

Snapchat said that private images are deleted from servers after they're read and that they don't share them with their business partners. 

Since the company issued the clarification, its Twitter page has been retweeting posts from users who are now re-downloading the app and "back to sending snaps."