When Snapchat launched in 2011, many predicted that the android app for ephemeral photos
will not last for long. Three years down the line, Snapchat is going strong- both in terms of
acquiring fan-base and pulling big venture capitalists such as Yahoo and Alibaba. But the road
to success has not been a smooth sailing so far, especially when Snapchat had been subjected to
hacking twice in its three years of existence. The first hacking (or leaking) of Snapchat users’
personal information took place during December 2013. The second Snapchat leak followed
in October 2014 where the hackers’ forum 4chan took the responsibility in leaking approx.
100k ‘deleted’ Snapchat photos via a third-party server, and raising the risk of child pornography
in US society.
Is the basic product-offering of Snapchat flawed?
The boom of social networking sites has taught us many things but the most important one is –
the proverb ‘whatever goes around comes around’ doesn’t hold true for Internet. The teenagers
specially learnt it through the hard way. So when they were almost fed-up with cringe-worthy
photos that they have uploaded in Facebook at the spur of the moment and their ever-lasting
nature, Snapchat with its unique feature, almost came as a savior.
A cool photo-messaging android app that is easy to download and where, you can send your
banal image to a friend and within 10 seconds it will get deleted- is a sure-shot recipe for success
to a teenager. So from sending funny, weird, quirky photos to cool ‘selfies’- Snapchat is the
mode of expression for 13-17 age group who enjoys the liberty to add only hand-picked contacts
in their Snapchat friend list. Unlike Facebook- the big daddy of social networking sites, where
one has to add relatives, distant cousins or the likes, out of parental pressure.
But with the recent case of ‘The Fappening’ (the October 2014’s hacking) – the skeleton of
Snapchat is once again out of the closet. Though Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel had made it clear
time and again that the company is committed to secure it’s users’ content with water-proof
Which companies are thriving on Snapchat’s apparent lax?
It also put into question the very core of Snapchat’s existence and i.e. ephemeral nature of its
images. There are many third party applications doing rounds that store- the ‘much’ leaked
photos of Snapchat users’, and repeatedly, the hackers had chosen to target these third party
servers. Around August, 2013 Gibson Security firm in Australia had warned Snapchat for latter’s
palpable flaw in security measures and the consequent thriving of third party servers for this. But
Snapchat didn’t pay any heed to it seemingly. So it looks right now that the websites from where
any viewer can download ‘deleted’ Snapchat photos are the main beneficiaries of Snapchat
Even though it’s mired with controversy, there is no stopping of capital fund raising for
Snapchat as it’s right now a hot property among investors. Now it’s to see that for how long this
honeymoon period will last.