When SnapChat Videos Don't Disappear

The secret guide to stopping the app's sexy messages from self-destructing has arrived, and the most unsettling part is that SnapChat doesn't seem to care.

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Everyone knew this would happen. When SnapChat was bursting onto the social sphere, from a teen sexting craze to an app so hot even Facebook had to copy it, we broke it down for you: the privacy policy says SnapChat is "not able to guarantee that your messaging data will be deleted," and so someone was bound to stop the sexy messages from self-destructing. Well, Buzzfeed's Katie Notopoulos now has a guide on how to save SnapChat videos forever. And while it's a bit complex and involves plugging the phone into a computer, we imagine someone creep who wants to save, say, a picture of someone naked, wouldn't mind a few extra steps. SnapChat alerts users when someone takes a screenshot on the app, but this new trick goes undeterred — and on Facebook's Poke, too, at least for now.

The most unsettling part of this inevitable development, though, is that SnapChat doesn't seem to care. When asked for comment, founder Evan Segal told Notopoulos the following: "The people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products — but that spoils the fun." We're not so sure a high-school senior with her naked video getting passed around school would agree. Facebook, with more to lose, says it will update its app to fix the work-around: "We are addressing this issue now. We should have a fix pushed shortly," a spokesperson told Notopoulos.

But even with said fix, the lesson here is the same as always: Don't send things around you wouldn't want to get into the wrong hands. Facebook even reiterated that point in its statement:

While Pokes disappear after they are read, there are still ways that people can potentially save them. For example, you could take a screenshot of a photo, in which case the sender is notified. People could also take a photo of a photo you sent them, or a video of a video, with another camera. Because of this, people should think about what they are sending and share responsibly.

Got it? Good.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.