Last Modified: October 28, 2015
Snapchat is a fast and fun way to share experiences with your friends and the world around you. You can send a photo or video Snap to friends, chronicle your day through My Story, touch base using Chat, immerse yourself in global events through Live, and enjoy handcrafted stories from the world’s top publishers on Discover.
When you use these services—and any others we roll out—you’ll inevitably share some information with us. We get that that can affect your privacy. So we want to be upfront about the information we collect, how we use it, whom we share it with, and the choices we give you to control, access, and update your information.
Information We Collect
There are three basic ways we collect information:
- Information you choose to give us.
- Information we get automatically when you use our services.
- Information we get from third parties.
Here’s a little more detail on each of these categories.
Information You Choose to Give Us
When you interact with our services, we collect the information that you choose to share with us. For example, most of our services require you to set up a basic Snapchat account, so we need to collect a few important details about you: a unique username you’d like to go by, a password, an email address, a phone number, and your date of birth. To make it easier for others to find you, we may also ask you to provide us with some additional information that will be publicly visible on our services, such as profile pictures, a name, or other useful identifying information. Other services, such as commerce products, may also require you to provide us with a debit or credit card number and its associated account information. And, of course, when you contact Snapchat Support or communicate with us in any other way, we’ll collect whatever information you volunteer.
Information We Get Automatically When You Use Our Services
When you use our services, we collect information about which of those services you’ve used and how you’ve used them. We might know, for instance, that you watched a particular Live Story, saw a specific ad for a certain period of time, and sent a few Snaps to friends. Here’s a fuller explanation of the types of information we collect when you use our services:
- Usage Information. We collect information about your activity through our services. For example, we may collect information about:
- how you interact with the services, such as which filters you apply to Snaps or which channels you watch on Discover.
- how you communicate with other Snapchatters, such as the time, date, sender, recipient of a message, the number of messages you exchange with your friends, which friends you exchange messages with the most, and your interactions with messages (such as when you open a message or capture a screenshot).
- Content Information. We collect the content you provide and information about that content, such as if the recipient has viewed the content, replayed the content, and the metadata that is provided with the content.
- Device Information.
- We collect device-specific information, such as the hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, browser type, language, wireless network, and mobile network information (including the mobile phone number).
- We also collect device information that will help us diagnose and troubleshoot problems in the (hopefully rare) event you experience any crash or other problem while using our services.
- Device Phonebook. Because Snapchat is all about communicating with friends, we may—with your consent—collect information from your device’s phonebook.
- Camera and Photos. Many of our services require us to collect images and other information from your device’s camera and photos. We’ll never access the camera or photos unless you give us your consent to do so.
- Location Information. When you use our services we may collect information about your location. With your consent, we may also collect information about your precise location using methods that include GPS, wireless networks, cell towers, Wi-Fi access points, and other sensors, such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, and compasses.
- Log Information. We collect log file information when you use our services. That information includes, among other things:
- details about how you’ve used our services
- device information, such as your web browser type and language
- access times
- pages viewed
- IP address
- pages you visited before navigating to our services
- cookies that may uniquely identify your device or browser
Information We Collect from Third Parties
We may collect information that other users provide about you when they use our services. For example, if another user allows us to collect information from their device phonebook—and you’re one of that user’s contacts—we may combine the information we collect from that user’s phonebook with other information we have collected about you. We may also obtain information from other third-party sources and combine that with the information we collect through our services.
How We Use Information
What do we do with the information we collect? The short answer is: Provide you with an amazing set of products and services that we relentlessly improve. But we do a lot more as well, such as:
- develop, improve, deliver, maintain, and protect our products and services
- communicate with you
- monitor and analyze trends and usage
- personalize the services by, among other things, suggesting friends or profile information or providing advertisements, content, or features that match user profiles, interests, or previous activities
- enhance the safety and security of our services
- verify your identity and prevent fraud or other unauthorized or illegal activity
- use information we’ve collected from cookies and other technology to enhance the services and your experience with them
We may also store some information locally on your device. For example, we may store information as local cache so that you can open the app and view content faster.
Although we welcome Snapchatters from all over the world, keep in mind that no matter where you live or where you happen to use our services, you consent to us processing and transferring information in and to the United States and other countries whose data-protection and privacy laws may offer fewer protections than those in your home country.
How We Share Information
We may share information about you in the following ways:
- With other Snapchatters. We may share the following information about you with other Snapchatters:
- public information, such as your username, Snapcode, name, and profile pictures;
- information about how you have interacted with the services, such as your Snapchat “score,” the names of Snapchatters you are friends with, and other information that will help Snapchatters understand your connections with others using the services. For example, because it may not be clear whether a new friend request comes from someone you actually know, we may share whether you and the requestor have Snapchat friends in common;
- any additional information you have consented to be shared. For example, when you let us access your device phonebook, we may share information about you with other users who have your phone number in their device phonebook; and
- content you post or send will be shared with other Snapchatters and potentially the public at large; how widely your content is shared depends on your personal settings and the type of service you are using. For example, a Snap may be sent to just a single friend you select, but a photo or video submitted to a Live Story may be seen by all Snapchatters and, if the Live Story is streamed on the web or broadcast in some other media, may be viewed by the public.
- With our affiliates. We may share information with entities within the Snapchat family of companies.
- With third parties. We may share your information with the following third parties:
- With service providers, sellers, and partners. We may share information about you with service providers who perform services on our behalf, sellers that provide goods through our services, and business partners that provide services and functionality.
- With third parties for legal reasons. We may share information about you if we reasonably believe that disclosing the information is needed to:
- comply with any valid legal process, government request, or applicable law, rule, or regulation;
- investigate, remedy, or enforce potential Terms of Service violations;
- protect the rights, property, and safety of us, our users, or others; or
- detect and resolve any fraud or security concerns.
- With third parties as part of a merger or acquisition. If Snapchat gets involved in a merger, asset sale, financing, or acquisition of some portion of our business to another company, we may share your information with that company before and after the transaction closes.
- In the aggregate. We may also share with third parties, such as advertisers, aggregated or de-identified information that cannot reasonably be used to identify you.
Information You Choose to Share with Third Parties
The services may also contain third-party links, include third-party integrations (like Pay to Replay), or be a co-branded or third-party-branded service that’s being provided jointly with or by another company. By going to those links, using the third-party integration, or using a co-branded or third-party-branded service, you may be providing information (including personal information) directly to the third party, us, or both. You acknowledge and agree that we are not responsible for how those third parties collect or use your information. As always, we encourage you to review the privacy policies of every third-party website or service that you visit or use, including those third parties you interact with through our services.
Message Deletion and Retention
Snapchat captures what it’s like to live in the moment. So in many cases the messages sent through our services are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired. And again in most cases, the services are programmed to delete a message from the recipient’s device once it’s been viewed or expired as well.
There are some exceptions though to this rule. Some of our services, such as My Story, Replay, and Live, allow users to interact with the messages and content you provide through the services for a longer period of time. That means those messages and content may be available on our servers and a recipient’s device after they’ve been viewed or expired. For example, if you add a Snap to My Story, other users will be able to view it for roughly 24 hours. And because Snaps submitted to Live and other crowd-sourced Stories are inherently public and chronicle matters of public interest, we may save them indefinitely and allow them to be viewed again through any of our services or third-party sources.
But—and this is important—you should understand that users who see your messages or any other content you provide can always save them, either by taking a screenshot or by using some other image-capture technology (whether that be software or even something as old-fashioned as a camera to take a photo of their device’s screen). If we’re able to detect that a recipient took a screenshot of a message you sent, we’ll try to notify you. But the same common sense that applies to the Internet at large applies to Snapchat as well: Don’t send messages that you wouldn’t want someone to save or share.
A few final words on deletion: We can’t guarantee that messages and corresponding metadata will be deleted within a specific timeframe. Keep in mind that we may also retain certain information in backup for a limited period of time or as required by law. This is true even after we’ve deleted messages and corresponding metadata from our servers. We also sometimes receive requests from law enforcement requiring us by law to suspend our ordinary server-deletion practices for specific information. Finally, of course, as with any digital information, there may be ways to access messages while still in temporary storage on recipients’ devices or, forensically, even after they are deleted.
Choice and Control over Your Information
We want you to be in control of your information, so we let you update or correct most of your basic Snapchat account information by editing your account settings within the app. Occasionally we may ask you to verify your identity or provide additional information before we let you update your information. And if you later change your mind about our ongoing ability to collect information from certain sources that you have already consented to, such as your phonebook, camera, photos, or location services, you can simply revoke your consent by changing the settings on your device if your device offers those options. Of course, if you do that, certain services may lose full functionality. And while we hope you’ll remain a lifelong Snapchatter, if for some reason you ever want to delete your account, just go here.
It’s also important to us that you stay in control over whom you communicate with. That’s why we’ve built a number of tools in settings that let you indicate, among other things, who you want to see your Stories, whether you’d like to receive Snaps from just your friends or all Snapchatters, and whether you’d like to block another Snapchatter from contacting you again.
Analytics and Advertising Services Provided by Others
We don’t direct our Services to anyone under 13. And that’s why we do not knowingly collect personal information from anyone under 13.