The adage that you shouldn’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the front page of a newspaper may still hold true, at least for the moment. Local startup Snapchat, which made headlines late last year for reportedly turning down a $3 billion dollar acquisition offer from Facebook, is in the headlines again today, having entered into an agreement with the FTC to settle charges that it misled users regarding their privacy practices. According to the FTC:
Snapchat, the developer of a popular mobile messaging app, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers with promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the service. The FTC case also alleged that the company deceived consumers over the amount of personal data it collected and the security measures taken to protect that data from misuse and unauthorized disclosure. In fact, the case alleges, Snapchat’s failure to secure its Find Friends feature resulted in a security breach that enabled attackers to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers. […] Under the terms of its settlement with the FTC, Snapchat will be prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy, security, or confidentiality of users’ information. In addition, the company will be required to implement a comprehensive privacy program that will be monitored by an independent privacy professional for the next 20 years.