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Snapchat settles with the US government for deceiving users

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As privacy has become harder to hold onto in the digital age, the appeal of Snapchat was obvious; no matter what you sent, your photo would be deleted within ten seconds. Of course, what sounded too good to be true ended up being exactly that. There are simple workarounds that allow for screen shots of embarrassing or scatological images, and the company itself has admitted to giving over certain pictures to the police. Understandably some people and entities were ticked off by Snapchat's false claims, including the federal government.

According to the New York Times, Snapchat has settled a deal with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for lying to customers about the ability of their snaps to really "disappear forever." Don't worry though, investors -- this settlement is purely a light rebuke of the company. In fact, Snapchat wont be fined a dime. The New York Times description of the settlement sounds like the company is getting sent to its room without dessert:

Under the terms of the settlement, Snapchat will be prohibited from misrepresenting how it maintains the privacy and confidentially of user information. The company will also be required to start a wide-ranging privacy program that will be independently monitored for 20 years. Fines could ensue if the company does not comply with the agreement.

Beyond the numerous ways Snapchats can be saved, the FTC also warned the company that the app collects data like your contacts and transmits users' locations despite telling customers that it wasn't doing that. This news probably won't stop anyone from Snapchatting, but think twice before you send that next funny picture of your cat. You're just using it to send pictures of your cat, right?

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