Snapchat’s creators have said over and over that they’ve made Snapchats difficult to recapture, since they want to promote an aura of transience and impermanence with their app. And despite mounting evidence that there are ways to grab and recover these seemingly fleeting images, people continue to use Snapchat to send things they don’t want other people to see. Since the service functions as a private photo messaging platform, plenty of nude pictures get exchanged, even as it becomes more obvious that there are ways to surreptitiously save these photos. After all, if you like someone enough to send them a sexy picture, you’d hope that they wouldn’t go out of their way to save it against your wishes.
Unfortunately, there’s a new service around that encourages Snapchat users to exploit their friends and lovers and make those private pictures public.
Snapchat’s credibility is taking yet another thanks to a new website called Snapchat Leaked (very NSFW, and very slow right now – the site is getting a heavy amount of traffic, as you might imagine; Update: the site appears to be broken right now, but has been working on and off today) that showcases recovered or saved Snapchat photos. Anyone can submit a saved Snap to the site, and there are different categories like “Women,” “Men,” “Sexy,” and “Stupid,” among others. Suffice it to say you’ll see your fair share of genitalia and other private parts, and if you click on a link below the images censored with little Snapchat ghosts, you can see the unedited pictures.
The site’s creators also made a Twitter account, which gained over 9,000 followers in a single day.
Heeey goodlooking… twitter.com/snapchatleakof…
— officialsnapchatleak (@snapchatleakoff) May 28, 2013
And even though Facebook pulled the original Snapchat Leaked page, a new one has surfaced and hasn’t been taken down yet. It already has over 10,000 fans – the original Facebook page had over half a million fans. The creators of the Facebook page note “Remember this is just for fun!” – a strange idea, since it’s obviously not so much for fun as it is for exploiting people who don’t realize their Snapchat friends aren’t in the least bit loyal and are willing to trade personal photos for a moment of spotlight on the Snapchat Leaked site.
But this might be worse news for Snapchat than for the victimized users. The photo-sharing service will likely have to come up with stricter measures to prevent sneaky screen captures and data recovery. And since this follows on the heels of a privacy group filing a complaint with the FTC regarding the app’s lax security, it’s high time the developers address the myriad privacy problems head on.
So who is behind Snapchat Leaked? We reached out to the creators but haven’t heard back yet. However, one Facebook user was so enthusiastic about promoting the service that other users suspected it was him – and he didn’t exactly deny it.
There’s little Snapchat can do other than try and police users who are repurposing and reposting their friends’ secret photos, but these sorts of exploits are only going to make people increasingly cautious about using the app. There’s always been some risk attached, but it seems to become higher every day.