Snapchat Data Access?

Hello there, whilst I’m aware that such practices are very foolish and don’t partake in them anymore, I fear deeply in regards to the content which could be available.

Snapchat assert that “deletion is the default” but I’m aware in reality this may not be the case. Advertisers and service providers receive information, even if the actual content is ‘deleted’

In the past I’ve sent NSFW content over Snapchat to trusted individuals who I’m certain will not have leaked things. I however fear regarding snapchats handling of such things. I fear that such content could have been sold or otherwise shared

As a layman to this whole topic, I just want to ask. What is the realistic chance that NSFW content of myself has been sold or shared by Snapchat and is floating around the net?

Considering the app has ~300 million daily users, I’d assume that the content shared is more metadata focused considering that the alternative would be a substantial amount of photos/videos leaked, yet I’m looking for clarity nonetheless as I want to understand this more

I think we should be able to have a reasonable expectation that companies—especially ones which might handle important information—should respect our human rights. So, I would firstly say that the actual principle of sharing sensitive content between consenting adults is far from foolish.

It’s just unfortunate that companies like Snap Inc. fail to meet these basic ethical standards. :sweat_smile:

This is difficult to answer. In 2019, whistleblowers claimed that some Snapchat employees had accessed user data by abusing tools designed to help law enforcement. Among others, Snapchat also has a history of controversial claims against users’ rights (e.g. the class action lawsuit, this August, concerning biometric data).

However, assuming over 300 million active daily users and a revenue model almost entirely based on advertising (which isn’t meant to use private messages), I’d say that Snap Inc. has a vested interest in avoiding any distribution or leaking of private user data which falls outside their business model:

  • It’s bad for business—particularly mature content is unfavourable for advertising partners (e.g. Google’s advertising policies for sexual content).
    • Think how Google “demonetizes” (i.e. demotes advertising) YouTube videos which might be considered more mature.
  • Snapchat has already suffered serious controversy over issues like “revenge porn”.
  • Its presence as a mainstream social media platform ‘raise the stakes’ for these kinds of issues.

Obviously, just because it might not be in the interest of their advertising business, it doesn’t guarantee that it’s not in the interest of doing anyway—as long as people don’t find out. This is a valid conclusion to draw, but I don’t think it’s sound without good evidence to support it.

Further, I suspect that conventional surveillance capitalism stands to be more profitable (no offence: just given the scale and established success of the model!)

In conclusion, I think that your concerns are well-founded (viz. their poor history), but I think it’s reasonable to say that this outcome is generally unlikely, and that—for you in particular—this outcome is extremely unlikely.

I hope that can allay some of your concern! :smile:


I like to add to add to the great words of @anon34719932 that you can send Snapchat a data access request. Claim you are an EU resident (they cannot verify) and demand a copy of the data they hold on you. They are legally required to comply with such request within 30 days. Should you not receive a satisfactory reply you may be able to file a complain at any European/UK data protection authority.

For good legal text examples I recommend My Data Done Right – Controle over jouw data

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