Recent Snapchat leaks shock students

Graphic by Emma Howie
Graphic by Emma Howie

By Blake Dykes and Bryce Romig

A recent data breach within the Snapchat mobile app has been found to have leaked personal pictures along with phone numbers to certain websites. 4.6 million usernames and phone numbers were exposed to hackers on Jan. 1. 2014 according to TechnoBuffalo. Many people were not aware of this recent issue and predict that it will change the way others use the app in the future.

Snapchat is a social media app available on smart phones that allows people to send photos with captions and filter effects to each other, but the recipient can only view the photo for a maximum of 10 seconds before it disappears.

“People usually use Snapchat because they think that what they’re sending is private and will be deleted after the expiration time. So when they find out it’s being saved and leaked they’ll stop sending such embarrassing or explicit photos,” said senior Jonathan Lynch.

This particular issue is especially relevant in high school students considering most report using Snapchat on a daily basis.

“I Snapchat all the time. I think its a fun way to have a conversation other than texting,” said junior Sequoia Bryant.

Many feel that the creators of Snapchat do not have the right to keep the pictures and phone numbers saved in the database.

“I don’t like the fact that they keep my photos. They shouldn’t have the right to own my photos. They are personal,” said senior Savannah O’Brien.

Senior Ryan Lenz agreed with O’Brien in the fact that it is an invasion of privacy.

“It seems wrong because it’s not right to use people’s private photos for their public use.”

However, others feel less affected by the issue because what they send is not inappropriate.

“It won’t affect how I use the app in the future because I use it to send funny pictures to my friends,” said sophomore Lexi Finnimore.

Senior Andrew Sung also said that he did not feel affected, although one of his friends were.

“It won’t change the way I Snapchat because I don’t send anything bad in those snapchats. I’m not too worried about everyone seeing my pictures. But my friend got  every part of his phone number leaked minus the last two digits.”

However, Snapchat is making an effort to strengthen the system to prevent this from happening again in the future.  Due to the hacking problem, Snapchat has provided an update for app users that allows them to opt out of linking their phone numbers to their profiles. This was done to help avoid any future API breaches that expose private phone numbers.

Bryant offered some advice to people who plan on continuing to use the app.

“Snapcat is a fun way to have a conversation: just don’t send anything risky and you’ll be fine.”

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