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.
There are three basic ways we collect information:
Here’s a little more detail on each of these categories.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
We may share information about you in the following ways:
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.
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.
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.
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.