Snap makes key hire to ensure no one copies Snapchat features again

snapchat
dennizn/123RF
Snapchat developer Snap Inc. isn’t happy about Facebook stealing from it.

For proof, look no further than its recent IPO filing, in which it states that Facebook subsidiary Instagram mimicked its Stories feature. Despite listing the big blue social network as a rival, it didn’t mention the fact that Facebook itself has copied the social-sharing function, too, both on Messenger and within its flagship app.

To ensure its products are safe from plagiarism in the future, Snap has quietly hired a security expert in the form of Laurent Balmelli, reports Bloomberg. After spending a decade at IBM, Balmelli went on to create and co-found several tech startups, one of which (Strong.Codes) creates tools to protect software code from reverse engineering: A process that sees copycats take apart a product in order to see how it works.

“Software protection is a topic that is becoming increasingly important, especially since the emergence of … mobile computing,” the startup wrote on its website. “Our goal is to make software piracy much more expensive and complicated.”

Alongside its hire, Snap has also reportedly registered its first subsidiary in Switzerland — at the same location in which Strong.Codes. It is unclear at this stage whether Snap has acquired Balmelli’s startup. In a regulatory filing it states that its Swiss unit will focus on acquisitions “in the fields of technology and computer security,” as well as “the commercialization of software and computer equipment.” Snap has declined to comment on the hire. The company behind the popular visual messaging app now reportedly has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, and Dubai.

But has its move to beef up security come too late? According to some, the damage to Snapchat may have already been done. A recent report by TechCrunch claims that since the introduction of Instagram Stories in August, various analytics companies have noted declines in Snapchat Stories view counts ranging from 15 to 40 percent. Meanwhile, Instagram’s version of the feature has gone from strength to strength, most recently racking up an impressive 150 million daily views.

Social Media

Twitter keeps your direct messages, even years after you delete them

Twitter is keeping copies of direct messages sent through the social network even years after users delete them, according to security researcher Karan Saini who discovered an archive containing old DMs from deleted and suspended accounts.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Computing

These are the 6 best free antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Movies & TV

The truth is out there: Here are the 10 best episodes of ‘The X-Files’

From alien-abduction drama to hilarious satires, these are the best episodes of The X-Files from all 11 seasons of the award-winning series that made audiences want to believe that the truth - scary as it might be - is out there.
Social Media

‘Instagram egg’ embarks on a new adventure as man behind it is unmasked

The Instagram egg made global headlines recently after it became the most-liked post on the photo-sharing app. The person behind the account has now been revealed, as has his reason for choosing an egg for the stunt.
Social Media

Periscope tool adds guests to feeds so streamers can become talk show hosts

Periscope users can now invite viewers to chime into the conversation with more than just the comment tool. By enabling the option to add guests, livestreamers can add guests to the conversation, in audio format only.
Photography

Crouching, climbing, and creeping, the perfect Instagram shot knows no bounds

Just how far will you go for the perfect Instagram? A recent survey shows just how willing Instagram users -- and Instagram husbands -- are to climb, lie down, embarrass themselves or let their food go cold for the perfect shot.
Social Media

Facebook’s long-promised ‘unsend’ feature arrives. Here’s how to use it

Send a message to the wrong person? Messenger now gives you 10 minutes to take it back. After an update beginning to roll out today, users can now retract messages if they act within the first 10 minutes after sending the message.
Social Media

YouTube boss admits even her own kids gave the ‘Rewind’ video a thumbs down

YouTube's 2018 Rewind video went down like a lead balloon at the end of last year, becoming the most disliked video in its history. And now YouTube's CEO has admitted that even her own kids thought it was pretty darn awful.
Social Media

Snapchat finally recovers from its redesign — so here comes an Android update

Snapchat's drop in users after launching a controversial redesign has finally stagnated. During the fourth quarter and 2018 earnings report, Snapchat shared that the company is rolling out an Android update designed to increase performance.
Social Media

Skype’s new ‘blur background’ feature could help keep you from blushing

Skype's latest feature for desktop lets you blur your background during video calls. The idea is that it keeps you as the focus instead of distracting others with whatever embarrassing things you might have on show behind you.
Social Media

Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

Twitter's end-of-the-year report for 2018 is a mix of good and bad news. The good news is that more users are seeing adds daily, the metric the company will focus on moving forward. But the bad news is that monthly active users are…
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Computing

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings.