Snapchat, revolutionary or not?

posted Feb 20, 2013, 2:30 AM by Tharsini Urutherakumar
By Sunny Lu, Tharsini Urutherakumar, Christina Johnpillai, Elaine Yan

Snapchat is the new app for the iOS and Android that allows users to send instant picture messages to friends which “self-destruct” according the sender’s settings. Snapchat's innovative feature supposedly allows their users to become much more open with their sharing hence creating an enhanced social atmosphere in technological communications.

For example, users may send pictures of a silly expression or goofy video, which Snapchat claimed would not  be permanently stored hence retaining privacy. However Snapchat has failed to realise that there have been many loopholes through this flimsy security system they’ve built their promotions around. First of all, you can just take a screenshot of the picture which really isn’t difficult for the receiver to do. Snapchat attempted to defend this by saying the sender would automatically be alerted that the receiver has saved their photo or that you can use settings to restrict recipients from screenshotting their photos. However a user would most probably forget or not bother to change these settings and ultimately, an individual could just use another camera from a separate device to capture the photo.Furthermore, individuals have found various methods to hack into Snapchat itself and find a way to obtain the image or video clip that is being sent. This app is filled with flaws and is a socially and ethically alarming issue which could ruin the live of many users.  

The biggest issue that has caused much controversy with this application is that it is evoking sexting amongst teenagers and young adults. Nearly most or all of the users are ignorant of the fact that these photos are not actually deleted. They are oblivious to the fact that the images can be recovered and are blinded by the false sense of security the “self destructing feature” provides. Teenagers are failing to realise that once an image is uploaded, it is not actually deleted but stored in a cache which can be accessed by the receiver by connecting their iPhone to their computer and retrieving the files. Almost everyone has access that information, and users are blindly capturing and sending inappropriate content after one moment of pure insanity believing it was safe. Surely in this ever growing the social network one cannot simply believe their shared content is secure.

This revolutionary application allows its users to just snap and send, but doesn’t warn them of its repercussions. This application is not a necessity, and rather provokes sexting amongst young children. Snapchat has certainly provided a unique social networking experience for users but with all the security loopholes and what it has been controversially associated with, what remains for the future for this company and their product?