Snapchat now has the rights to store and share selfies taken via the app

Snapchat's newly revised ToS and privacy policies give it the right to store and share photos taken when using the app.

If you still believe your snaps will self-destruct, you might want to review Snapchat's newest policy changes, as the company can now potentially keep your photos forever and share them. Oh, and by using the app, you grant Snapchat the rights to your photos.

Users who update their Snapchat app must tap "Accept" to signify that they agree with the app's newly updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. "Scary stuff," is what actor Kal Penn, the former White House Associate Director of Public Engagement, called Snapchat's new privacy and legal policies.

Snapchat's about-face on delete is default for photos Kal Penn

Snapchat, which became popular because messages were supposed to go poof after 10 seconds, gave rise to other third-party apps meant to capture and keep the messages. If you recall "The Snappening" in October 2014, the third-party app Snapsaved was hacked and selfies that were supposed to self-destruct were instead leaked. But it couldn't be considered a "leak" if users agree to Snapchat's newly revised privacy policy and terms of service that take the company on a radical shift away from the idea upon which it was founded.

In the previous privacy policy, Snapchat said, "Delete is our default;" yet exceptions to the delete rule included messages added to Replay, My Story, Snapcash, and saved chats. Now Snapchat says your name, username, Snapcode, profile pictures, and content "will be shared with other Snapchatters and potentially the public at large" – including Snapchat affiliates and the dreaded third parties – based upon "your personal settings and the type of service you are using."

Supposedly the message deletion changes kick in when people use Snapchat services "such as My Story, Replay, and Live," which "allow users to interact with the messages and content you provide through the services for a longer period of time," according to Snapchat's privacy policy.

"That means those messages and content may be available on our servers and a recipient's device after they've been viewed or expired," Snapchat's privacy policy added. "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."

After reminding users that recipients can find ways to save snaps, the company mentioned its own message deletion policy: "We can't guarantee that messages and corresponding metadata will be deleted within a specific timeframe."

New Snapchat ToS

Snapchat's former ToS had a different take on the word "store." In fact, Snapchat claimed snaps were deleted from company servers once the snap was opened by recipients, or if they went unopened for 30 days. It also claimed to delete snaps from recipients' devices. It's important to note that although Snapchat built up its business on disappearing snap claims, the company settled charges with the FTC because it deceived users. The FTC found that "promises of disappearing messages were false."

Regarding the new ToS, you alone "remain responsible for the content you create, post, store, or send," but Snapchat can profit from your content. By using the app, you "grant Snapchat a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)."

Additionally, "you also grant Snapchat and our business partners the unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual right and license to use your name, likeness, and voice in any and all media and distribution channels (now known or later developed) in connection with any Live Story or other crowd-sourced content you create, upload, post, send, or appear in. This means, among other things, that you will not be entitled to any compensation from Snapchat or our business partners if your name, likeness, or voice is conveyed through the Services."

If you are using Snapchat for sexting, then you might want to rethink that plan. It does seem doubtful, however, that anyone using Snapchat to share sexually explicit selfies would choose to submit the snaps to "Live Story." If you use Snapchat in general, you might want to ponder that choice in light of the new policy changes. The new privacy and ToS policies are a far cry from the initial app that became popular for its privacy-enhancing self-destruct feature.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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