Last Updated: November 17, 2014
Snapchat is a fast and fun way to share experiences with your friends and the world around you. Users can send a photo or video Snap to friends, chronicle their day through My Story posts, touch base using Chat, and immerse themselves in global events through Our Story.
Information We Collect
What You Directly Provide Us
For you to create a basic Snapchat account, we need to collect a few important details about you: a unique username you’d like to go by, a password, an email address we can contact you at, a phone number, and your age or date of birth. For additional Services beyond the basic Snapchat account, we may ask you for additional information. In connection with Snapcash, we may collect a debit or credit card number or an image of the card, its associated account information, and any other security-related information. We want you, though, to be in control of your information, so we let you update or correct most of the basic Snapchat account information by editing your account settings within Snapchat. For Snapcash, you may delink your payment card information in the Snapcash settings. And while we hope you’ll remain a lifelong Snapchatter, if for some reason you ever want to delete your account, just visit this link; but keep in mind that we may retain certain information in backup for a limited period of time or as required by law. For more information about how we store and delete the messages you send or receive through Snapchat, please read the “Message Deletion” section a little farther down.
What You Automatically Provide Us When You Use Our Services
- Usage Information. We collect information about your activity and the messages you send and receive through our Services. For example, we collect information 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). We may collect that same basic information when you use Snapcash, along with the dollar amounts sent and received.
- Device Information. We collect information about your device, including the hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers (including MAC address and IMEI), browser type and language, mobile device phone number, and mobile network information. We also collect certain device information that will help us diagnose problems in the (hopefully rare) event you experience any crash or other problem while using our Services. So, for example, if we detect a crash or other problematic event, we may collect the list of apps on your device and other information about your device’s performance at the time of the event for troubleshooting purposes.
- Website Log Information. We collect log file information when you use our websites. That information includes, among other things, your web browser type and language, access times, pages viewed, your IP address, and the website you visited before navigating to our websites.
Information We Collect From Other Sources
If another user allows us to collect information from his or her 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 sources and combine that with the information we collect through Snapchat.
Information We Collect When You Contact Us
Whenever you have a question for our helpful Support team, just head over to https://support.snapchat.com. Of course, when you contact the Support team or communicate with us in any other way, we’ll collect whatever information you volunteer. For instance, if you submit artwork, files, or any other materials to us through our websites, we will collect what you give us.
How We Use Information
What do we do with the information we collect? The short answer is: Provide you with an amazing set of Services that we relentlessly improve. But we do a lot more as well, such as:
- Provide and deliver the products, services, and functionality that you request, process transactions, and send you related information;
- Communicate with you. That means just what it says; we may send you marketing communications on behalf of us or other companies; respond to your comments and questions; provide customer service; and send you technical notices, security alerts, and other informational messages;
- Monitor and analyze trends and usage;
- Develop, improve, and refine products, services, and functionality;
- Personalize the Services by providing advertisements, content, or features that match user profiles or interests. For instance, when you set up an account we may pre-populate certain account information based on the information we collect about you from other users;
- Verify your identity and prevent fraud or other unauthorized or illegal activity; and
- Carry out any other purpose for which the information was collected.
Where Information Is Processed
Snapchat is based in the United States. 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 the processing and transfer of information in and to the U.S. and other countries. We want you to know this because the laws of the United States and those of other countries where your information is processed might not be as comprehensive or protective as laws in the country where you live. And while you’re in another country, know that your information may be made available to government or law enforcement requests.
How We Share Information
Here’s the type of information we may share about you with others and how we do so:
- When you send a message, your recipients will see your username and, of course, whatever your message says or shows (whether that’s a photo, video, text, or transaction). When you view content that another Snapchat user has sent you, we will let the sender know that you saw it, and if we detect that you captured a screenshot of the message, we will try to let the sender know that. But you’re always able to tell us whether you’d like to receive Snaps only from users you have added to your friends list or whether you’d prefer to receive Snaps from all Snapchatters. If you have any questions about how to do that, click here for some helpful tips. And if you ever want to delete users from your friends list, block specific users, or control who can view your Stories, we let you do that as well through various settings. For more information on how to manage who can send you Snaps, read this helpful article.
- When you use video chat, the recipient will see your live video and the recipient’s device will receive some technical information about your device to facilitate the connection. You’ll learn even more about how to use video chat and manage this feature by checking out this help article.
- 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. For instance, when you use Find Friends, we may share your username and name with other users who use Find Friends and have your phone number in their device phonebook. In these cases, we will not display your phone number to these users, but we will share the fact that your username and name are associated with your phone number.
- When other users view your profile, they will be able to view profile information, including your username, “score” (the total number of messages you have sent and received), a list of the friends you exchange messages with the most (your “Best Friends” list), and, depending on your settings, your name. Similarly, your username may appear in the Best Friends lists of others.
- If another user tries to interact with you through a feature that you’re unable to use because you’re too young—say, for instance, you don’t meet the 18+ age requirement for Snapcash—we may tell the user that you’re ineligible to use the feature, so that the user isn’t left wondering why you never responded.
- We may share information about you with service providers who perform services on our behalf.
- With respect to jointly offered Services or functionality or services offered separately by other companies through our Services, we may share information about you with business partners to provide the Services and functionality you request and to communicate with you about those Services;
- We may share information about you in response to legal process or a request for information if we believe disclosure is consistent with, or required by, any applicable law, rule, or regulation; to investigate or remedy potential violations of our user agreements or policies, or to protect the rights, property, and safety of us, our users, or others; or in connection with, or during negotiations of, any merger, sale of company assets, financing, or acquisition of all or a portion of our business to another company.
We may also share aggregated or de-identified information, which cannot reasonably be used to identify you. Here’s just one example of how this could work: Because it’s not always 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 without disclosing the usernames of those common friends.
The Services may also contain third-party links 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 or by using a co-branded or third-party-branded Service, you may be providing 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.
Delete is our default. That means that most messages sent through our Services will be automatically deleted once they have been viewed or have expired. But—and this is important—you should understand that users who see your messages 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 your 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.
In most cases, once we detect that all recipients have viewed a message, we automatically delete it from our servers. And again in most cases, the Services are programmed to delete the message from the recipients’ device as well. There are, however, several exceptions to this general rule:
- Replay: Users with access to the Replay feature are—as the name suggests—able to replay a Snap additional times before it is deleted from their device.
- My Story: If you add a Snap to your personal Story, other users will be able to view it for 24 hours.
- Our Stories: Because Our Stories and other crowd-sourced Stories are inherently public and chronicle matters of public interest, we may archive them and allow them to be viewed again through Snapchat or other sources.
- Chats: The Services are programmed to automatically delete a Chat after you and the recipient have seen it and swiped out of the Chat screen, unless either of you taps to save it. Read this help article for more details about Chats.
- Snapcash: The Services are programmed to automatically delete a Snapcash message after you and the recipient have seen the message and swiped out of the Chat screen, unless either of you taps to save the message. But in case we ever need to follow up with you about a transaction (for instance, if money is refunded to you), our Services are programmed to retain for up to 10 days information regarding the recipient and sender, the transaction amount, and various timestamps (for example, the time the message was sent, received, and opened).
A few final words on deletion: We can’t guarantee that messages will be deleted within a specific timeframe. And even after we’ve deleted message data from our servers, that same data may remain in backup for a limited period of time. 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.
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. Children under 13 may only use Snapkidz. For more information about Snapkidz, please see ConnectSafely's Parents' Guide to Snapchat, available here.