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Snapchat for Free: How data collection works

From notorious connotations as a sexting app, Snapchat grew rapidly in the social media space, challenging the existing presence of Facebook as the King of content. On the outlook, these images, videos based app seems less privacy threatening compared to Facebook but is it the reality? Let’s find out. 

Snapchat collects the information you provide when you register for the service. These include things such as your name, username, password, email address, mobile number, etc. Other than that they also collect “whatever information you send through our services, such as Snaps and Chats.” 

So now you got registered and it’s time to start snap-chatting! When you are doing so the app automatically collects data in order to understand how you use and interact with the app and its features. “We might know, for instance, that you watched a particular Story, saw a specific ad for a certain period of time, and sent a few Snaps.” Further, they collect information about your activities such as the filters you use, stories you watch on Discover and the search queries you make. (In other words, they know when you open a message or screenshot it!)

Generally being a mobile app they collect a wide range of device-specific data including but not limited to “the hardware model, operating system version, device memory, advertising identifiers, unique application identifiers, apps installed, unique device identifiers, Information from device sensors, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, compasses.” 

Is that all they know about you? Not really. They collect information from third-party services such as Advertisers, App Developers, and Publishers who will share data with Snap Inc. By combining both Internal and External information they are able to target ads and promotions better for you. (After all it is a free service. Right?)

Other than for developments, bug fixes, analytics, ad targeting related to the app if you are an Apple user they collect some additional information as well. As the Privacy Statement puts it; 

We may also use information from Apple’s TrueDepth camera to improve the quality of Lenses. Information from the TrueDepth camera is used in real-time—we don’t store this information on our servers or share it with third parties.

The best thing about the Snap, in fact, the initial concept on the service was based on building a messaging service based on disappearing traces. Therefore the information they collect might also delete automatically? Well, some will do and some won’t. 

  • Snaps and Chats will be automatically deleted by default when they are opened or expired. 
  • Basic account information is stored until you request to delete them.
  • Store time varies for location-based data
    • If you use the Map, information about your favourite places will be stored up to 40 days
    • If they are associated with your content (Snaps/Memories/Our Story) they will be retained until the particular content exist. 

Say after going through our article you feel like ending your “Streak”;

“If you ever decide to stop using Snapchat, you can just ask us to delete your account. We’ll also delete most of the information we’ve collected about you after you’ve been inactive for a while—but don’t worry, we’ll try to contact you first!”

But they are also unable to assure that the deletion process will occur “within a specific timeframe”, due to the reasons such as Legal requirements to store data, etc. 

Now you know how every time you open Snapchat your screen get flooded with content also how they apply popular filters, be it the Puppy face or Geo filters. It all about Information! 

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Tags : Free*snapchat

The author RACALBS