Snapchat Addresses Those Sketchy Third-Party Apps That Led To Thousands Of Leaked Photos

On Monday, a third-party Snapchat application, SnapSaved, admitted it was hacked and accidentally leaked nearly 100,000 images and videos from unsuspecting Snapchat users.

Snapchat issued a statement then, saying its servers were never breached. Essentially, Snapchat told users that if their photos were leaked, it wasn’t technically Snapchat’s fault.

While that may be true, Snapchat can control which developers have access to its API and it has the power to shut down any extension application that is potentially harmful to its users. Snapchat says it aggressively trolls Google Play and the App Store for third party apps and it has successfully gotten some of them removed. But even with those efforts, users weren’t saved from the SnapSaved hack.

Now Snapchat has issued a statement addressing concerns about its API. Snapchat says no developers are allowed to use its API, and any developer that does is violating Snapchat’s Terms of Use.

“We haven’t provided a public API to developers and we prohibit access to the private API we use to provide our service,” Snapchat writes. “That means any application that isn’t ours but claims to offer Snapchat services violates our Terms of Use and can’t be trusted.”

Here’s the full statement, from Snapchat’s blog:

Over the past few days we’ve fielded a number of questions about our API and third-party applications after a website that offered to save Snaps indicated that their database had been breached. We are grateful that the service provider acknowledged that Snapchat was never compromised, but we wanted to use this as an opportunity to reiterate the unfortunate threats these third-party applications can pose to our community.

A third-party application is any application that accesses the Snapchat API, but hasn’t been built and maintained by our company. Given the popularity of Snapchat and the size of our community, it’s no surprise that a cottage industry of app-makers has popped up to provide additional services to Snapchatters. Unfortunately, these applications often ask for Snapchat login credentials and use them to send or receive snaps and access account information.

When you give your login credentials to a third-party application, you’re allowing a developer, and possibly a criminal, to access your account information and send information on your behalf.

It takes time and a lot of resources to build an open and trustworthy third-party application ecosystem. That’s why we haven’t provided a public API to developers and why we prohibit access to the private API we use to provide our service. Don’t get us wrong – we’re excited by the interest in developing for the Snapchat platform – but we’re going to take our time to get it right. Until then, that means any application that isn’t ours but claims to offer Snapchat services violates our Terms of Use and can’t be trusted.

Snapchat has always been a fun place to share Snaps with friends. The best way to keep our community safe is a combination of security countermeasures and common sense. We’ll continue to do our part by improving Snapchat’s security and calling on Apple and Google to take down third-party applications that access our API. You can help us out by avoiding the use of third-party applications.

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