by Leah Whitcomb
assistant social media manager
Snap chat, the popular app among many teens and young adults, allows a person to send short-lived photos and videos to other users. Two Stanford University students, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy developed the app. They were convinced that emoticons were not sufficient in relaying emotion to the person receiving the text message. They also believed that particular photos could be too embarrassing or inappropriate, or the risk of ending up on the Internet was too high to send to other people. So to ease their users’ fears, Snap chat limits the time the receiver can view each photo or video to anywhere from one to 10 seconds (sender’s choice).
In August 2013, Internet security group Gibson Security found a glitch in Snapchat that would allow a hacker to discover the phone numbers behind every username. When an individual signs up for Snapchat, he or she can privately register a phone number so friends who have the user in their phones’ address book can find him or her on the app. In theory, if a person uploaded a large list of numbers to a phone, he or she could then discover the phone number behind every username. Snapchat dismissed this information.
At the start of this year, a website, snapchatdb.info, leaked 4.6 million accounts, usernames and phone numbers. Snapchatdb.info released a statement saying, “The company was too reluctant at patching the exploit until they knew it was too late, and companies that we trust with our information should be more careful when dealing with it.” Some users are upset with the fact that their information is on display, but most seem indifferent to the leaking.
Catherine Arjet, a freshmen at Millsaps, said, “I feel like it’s kind of creepy, but the government can turn on our webcams, so we have bigger fish to fry.”
Another freshman, Keely Parker, agreed. “It’s scary, but you have to realize any time you use social media [there’s a chance] your information will be leaked,” she said.
It just goes to show that the information and photos we put out there are not protected; it’s up to us to be cautious about the information we share with the world.