Snapchat tries to calm nerves over terms of service update

Snapchat tries to calm nerves over terms of service update
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Snapchat promised users it is not “stockpiling” their private messages, in a blog posted Sunday night aimed at calming worries over its updated terms of service. 

While acknowledging its terms of service give the social media company “broad license to use the content you create,” the company said private messages sent by its users contain the same amount of protection they did before the Oct. 28 update. 

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The company said its terms of service and privacy policy rewrite was meant to simplify the language to make it easier to read. 

It also added updates about in-app purchases as people can now pay for replays of messages, which are typically deleted after they have been viewed. It also clarified what information is publicly available to other users. 

A number of publications, however, picked up on the licensing section of the company’s terms of service that give it the ability to store, display and reproduce user content.  

The company said users could continue to restrict Snapchat’s license to use the content by, for example, sharing the message with only a single friend or group of friends.

As the company grows and attempts to build ad profits, it has broadened its service to include more than the initial appeal of ephemeral messages sent privately that are deleted soon after viewing. 

The company has created crowd-sourced stories, which cull together a mishmash of publicly shared videos and images from a particular event, which can be retained by the company indefinitely.  

The company said it is these public Live Stories that the licensing clause is aimed at, and it noted that similar licensing agreements were included in its past terms of service. 

Snapchat has been in hot water with regulators over its privacy policy in the past. 

The Federal Trade Commission last year settled with the company over its allegedly deceptive promises about private photos and videos sent through its application being permanently deleted. Since then, Snapchat’s privacy policy has been much more measured about some of the limitations of deletion.