Can Snapchat Employees See Your Snaps?

Snapchat is a popular application for sharing pictures with other users. It owes a lot of its popularity to the fact that once you share a picture or a video, it will disappear after a few seconds. Also, if a user doesn’t see the content for 30 days, the system will delete the media forever.

Can Snapchat Employees See Your Snaps?

The fact that the content disappears is very tempting to some. Because of it, users sometimes share pictures without thinking about the consequences.

There were some instances in the past where Snapchat failed the privacy test. Because of that, it is normal for users to worry about how protected the content that they choose to privately share really is.

Who can see your snaps? How private are your messages? This article will try to delve deeper into the issue of Snapchat privacy and clear up some questions.

Can Snapchat Employees See Snaps?

Officially, your snaps are visible only to the sender and the recipient, and only for a short time once you open them. This means that Snapchat employees can’t view the content inside.

There are some exceptions, though. Some of the employees can access the unopened snaps before they disappear after 30 days.

Snaps will disappear shortly after a user views them. If you read Snapchat’s official privacy policy, they state that the system will delete all the content once all the recipients open it. So, it will not just be moved to some form of archive but permanently removed from the server.

Only two people have the necessary tools to access unopened snaps. Snapchat’s Trust & Safety specialist Micah Schaffer revealed this in a blog post in 2013. Those two are Schaffer himself and Snapchat CTO and co-founder Bobby Murphy. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) obliges them to give snaps to law enforcement. Of course, they have to provide a search warrant first.

If you don’t use Snapchat for any sort of illegal activity, you are probably not interesting to the law. Therefore, the two employees won’t look at your unopened snaps. These snaps also disappear after 30 days, and after that time are unavailable to look at.

Snapchat Privacy Issues

The official Snapchat app is relatively safe. Despite the app’s efforts to keep it that way, sometimes it is impossible. There were instances in which some users’ snaps were stolen and shared.

Third Party Apps: The Snappening

The Snappening is the name of an event in 2014 in which over 200,000 nude Snapchat images appeared on the internet. This made a lot of users lose trust in Snapchat’s security at the time. It turned out that the problem was the interference of third-party apps.

Plenty of users naively trust third-party apps that they share their personal data with. There were unofficial apps that offered interesting features for your apps. A lot of teenagers weren’t aware that they were giving access to a malicious app that steals snaps and shares them online.

Due to the temporary nature of snaps, many Snapchat users are tempted to send more controversial images and fall victim to the third-party app scam.

‘Silent Screenshots’

There are also third-party apps that can prevent Snapchat from notifying you if a user took a screenshot of your snap or story. So, you must be careful when sharing content online, even if it’s “temporary”.

Snap Map Controversy

snap map

With the update from 2017, a Snapchat feature called ‘Snap Map’ appeared which raised some controversy, too. This feature lets you decide if you want to share a location with friends in the app or stay incognito. If you enable the Snap Map feature, your Snapchat friends will know your exact location.

If you accidentally share your location, all the friends from your list will know where you are. Since most Snapchat users are young-aged, this was particularly concerning for the parents.

How to Modify Privacy Settings?

To go to your Privacy settings in Snapchat, you should:

  1. Tap your profile picture. It’s in the top-left of the screen. It should open your Profile menu.
  2. Tap the gear icon that is in the top-right. This should take you to the Settings menu.
    snap settings
  3. Go down until you notice ‘Additional Services’, and then go to ‘Manage’.
  4. Here you can manage who can contact you, who can view your stories and location, whether or not you want to be targeted by ads, and many other privacy settings.

snap privacy

Final Say – How Safe Are you?

You can’t be totally sure if you’re fully protected on the Internet. Even if the app officially doesn’t share your information or make it available to their employees, there are various methods to compromise your privacy.

Because of this, it is very important to be careful about what you share online to avoid any inconvenience. Stay safe!


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