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Snapchat tries to calm down users after privacy policy scare

Snapchat’s update to its terms of service and privacy policy was one of the startup’s first bad moves, prompting a huge backlash against the mobile app for apparently trying to let marketers view content taken by users.

In a face-saving move, Snapchat has sent out an update reassuring users that each of their snaps is automatically deleted once the recipient views it. The San Francisco-based startup also said it has never stored “snaps or chats” on its servers, refuting claims that Snapchat is keeping content on servers to potentially sell to marketers at a later date.

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One of the main reasons for the privacy policy update — according to Snapchat — was to make it easier to understand. The update appears to have had the opposite effect, making users even more concerned about their privacy.

Snapchat claims it needs a broad agreement with the user in order to provide all of its services. Live Stories, for instance, may be reproduced in other forms of media, but Snapchat claims that doesn’t extend to private snaps and chats.

The update also referenced in-app purchases, following the rollout of $0.99 replays.

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Comparing the terms of service and privacy policy to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, there isn’t anything jaw-dropping on the Snapchat update. The problem is that for millions of Snapchat users, privacy is a highly important factor when using the app to send photos and chats, and they don’t want that info getting used for advertising purposes.

It might be hard for Snapchat to break out of its privacy-focused barricade, which was partly built by the startup itself before it acquired larger ambitions. Now, though, with a valuation of $15 billion, it needs to find a balance between making users feel secure, and making money on the app.