Overview

Snapchat lets you easily talk with friends, view live stories from around the world, and explore news. The terms of Snapchat disclose that social interactions are available between users and any personal information or content may be made publicly visible to others. The terms say that Snapchat does not sell personal information to third parties, but the terms do state that Snapchat and third-party partners may place advertising on the services. Snapchat's terms state they take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality and security of personal information collected from users of the service, but do not provide any additional information about how they secure personal information. Lastly, Snapchat's terms say they allow users to access, modify, delete, and download their data at any time through the service

Snapchat can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use used for this evaluation can be found on Snapchat’s website, iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Privacy Center, California Privacy Noticeand Cookie Policy. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Safety

The terms of Snapchat disclose that social interactions are available between users and any personal information or content may be made publicly visible to others. Snapchat says users should keep in mind that other users can view their Snaps, Chats, and any other content and can always save that content or copy it outside the app. The terms state that in order to participate in social interactions a user must share information about themselves, such as their username, name, profile picture, and Bitmoji avatar. Users should also be aware Story submissions are set to be viewable by everyone and any content that they submit may be publicly visible to others. A user's content may be viewed and shared by the public at large both on and off Snapchat's services, including through search results, on websites, in apps, and in online and offline broadcasts. Lastly, the terms state that social interactions are logged which include how users communicate with other Snapchatters, such as their names, the time and date of their communications, the number of messages they exchange with their friends, which friends they exchange messages with the most, and their interactions with messages (such as when they open a message or capture a screenshot).

Privacy

Snapchat's terms say they collect personal information such as name, username, password, email address, phone number, date of birth, and other information collected automatically when users visit the service. The terms say that Snapchat does not sell personal information to third parties, but the terms do state that Snapchat and third-party partners may place advertising on the services. In addition, the terms state Snapchat is constantly collecting and updating information about the things a user might like and dislike, so they can provide them with more relevant content and targeted advertisements. The terms say Snapchat may also collect information about a user's activity on third-party services that use cookies provided by the service. Snapchat's terms state they may use this information to improve their advertising services, including measuring the performance of ads and showing users more targeted ads. The terms also say users can opt-out from having certain device identifiers used for interest-based advertising.

Snapchat's terms say they may use tracking technologies to collect information when a user interacts with offers through one of their partners, such as advertising and marketing features. For example, Snapchat may use information collected on other websites to show a user more targeted ads on Snapchat. Lastly, Snapchat's terms state third-party advertising partners may use tracking cookies to build a profile of a user's interests and deliver relevant advertising on other third-party sites across the internet.

Security

Snapchat's terms state they take reasonable steps to protect the confidentiality and security of personal information collected from users of the service, but do not provide any additional information about how they secure personal information. In addition, Snapchat's terms do not disclose whether they use encryption to protect personal information collected by the service and do not disclose whether they provide notification to users in the event of a data breach.

Compliance

Snapchat's terms say they allow users to access, modify, delete, and download their data at any time through the service. Snapchat's terms also state no one under 13 is allowed to create an account and the services are not intended for—and Snapchat does not direct them to—anyone under 13. However, a general audience product like Snapchat may be considered directed to children if the product would appeal to children under 13 years of age, which takes several factors into consideration such as: the subject matter, visual content, the use of animated characters or child-oriented activities and incentives, music or other audio content, the age of models, the presence of child celebrities or celebrities who appeal to children, language or other characteristics of the product, or whether advertising promoting or appearing on the product is directed at children. Therefore, a general audience application or service that collects personal information from users to chat with friends with animated cartoon characters and images would likely be a child-directed product.

Overall Score

Every privacy rating includes an overall score. A higher score (up to 100%) means the product provides more transparent privacy policies with better practices to protect user data. The score is best used is as an indicator of how much additional work a person will need to do to make an informed decision about a product.

Basic ScoreFull Score
Comprehensive Assessment6152

Concerns

The privacy evaluation process summarizes the policies of an application or service into concern categories based on a subset of evaluation questions that can be used to quickly identify particular practices of a vendor’s policies. These concerns are composed of evaluation questions that can be used to calculate scores relative to that concern.

ConcernBasic ScoreFull Score
Data Collection: Protecting personal information8360
Data Sharing: Protecting data from third parties5060
Data Security: Protecting against unauthorized access025
Data Rights: Controlling rights to data8895
Data Sold: Preventing sale of data7535
Data Safety: Promoting responsible use6765
Ads & Tracking: Prohibiting the exploitation of users' decision making process5050
Parental Consent: Protecting children’s personal information10050
School Purpose: Following student data privacy laws00
Individual Control: Controlling data useNA45

Statutes

Each statute or regulation is associated with one or more evaluation questions. As such, we can calculate scores for each statute or regulation using only those questions associated with the statute or regulation. Each specific statute or regulation's score serves as an indirect proxy indicating the likelihood of the application or service satisfying all of its compliance obligations.

StatuteBasic ScoreFull Score
California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)7963
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)6956
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)6341
Student Online Personal Information Protection Act (SOPIPA)5446
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)6757

Privacy Policy Details

1: Transparency

1.1: Policy Version
  • Privacy policies do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Privacy policies indicate a change log or past policy version is available.
1.2: Policy Notice
  • Users are notified if there are any material changes to the policies.
  • Privacy policies indicate the method used to notify a user when policies are updated.
1.3: Policy Changes
  • Unclear whether users are notified prior to any material changes to the policies.
  • Changes to the policies are effective immediately and continued use of the product indicates consent.
1.4: Policy Coverage
  • Privacy policies indicate the products that are covered by the policies.
1.5: Privacy Contact
  • Users can contact the company about any privacy policy questions, complaints, or material changes to the policies.
1.6: Policy Principles
  • Privacy policies do indicate privacy principles, layered notices, or a table of contents.
1.7: Policy Language
  • Privacy policies are not available in multiple languages.
1.8: Intended Use
  • Not intended for children under 13.
  • Not intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Unclear whether intended for parents or guardians.
  • Unclear whether intended for students.
  • Unclear whether intended for teachers.

2: Focused Collection

2.1: Data Collection
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) is collected.
  • The categories of collected personally identifiable information are indicated.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • Unclear whether this product collects biometric or health data.
  • Interactions, behaviors, or usage analytics data are collected.
  • Sensitive data are collected.
  • Data is automatically collected.
2.2: Data Source
  • Unclear whether personal information or education records are collected from preK-12 students.
  • Personal information from children under 13 years of age is not collected.
2.3: Data Excluded
  • Unclear whether specific types of personal information excluded from collection.
  • Unclear whether specific types of collected information are excluded from the privacy policy.
2.4: Data Limitation
  • Collection or use of data is limited to product requirements.

3: Data Sharing

3.1: Data Shared With Third Parties
  • Collected information is shared with third parties.
  • The categories of information shared with third parties are indicated.
3.2: Data Use by Third Parties
  • The purpose for sharing a user's personal information with third parties is indicated.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for analytics.
  • Unclear whether data are shared for research and/or product improvement.
  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
3.3: Data Not Shared With Third Parties
  • Specific categories of information are not shared with third parties.
3.4: Data Sold to Third Parties
  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
3.5: Third-Party Data Acquisition
  • Personal information about users is obtained from third parties.
3.6: Third-Party Links
  • Unclear whether links to third-party external websites are age-appropriate.
3.7: Third-Party Data Access
  • Third parties are authorized to access a user's information.
3.8: Third-Party Data Collection
  • Personal information of users is collected by a third party.
3.9: Third-Party Data Misuse
  • Unclear whether personal information can be deleted from a third party.
3.10: Third-Party Service Providers
  • Third-party services are used to support the product.
  • The roles of third-party service providers are indicated.
3.11: Third-Party Affiliates
  • The categories of third parties that receive data are indicated.
3.12: Third-Party Policies
  • Links to privacy policies of third-party companies are not available.
3.13: Third-Party Data Combination
  • Company may combine data with additional data from third-party sources.
  • Data shared with third parties can be combined with other data.
3.14: Third-Party Authentication
  • Unclear whether this product supports third-party login.
  • Unclear whether personal information from third-party login providers is collected.
  • Personal Information is shared with third-party login providers.
3.15: De-identified or Anonymized Data
  • User information that is shared is shared in an anonymous or de-identified format.
  • Unclear whether the company describes their de-identification process of user information.
3.16: Third-Party Contractual Obligations
  • Unclear whether contractual limits are placed on third-party data use.
  • Unclear whether contractual limits prohibit third parties from reidentifying or de-identified information.

4: Respect for Context

4.1: Data Use
  • Unclear whether use of information is limited to the purpose for which it was collected.
  • The context or purpose for which data are collected is indicated.
4.2: Data Combination
  • Unclear whether this product treats combined information as personally identifiable information (PII).
4.3: Data Notice
  • Unclear whether notice is provided if the context in which data are collected changes.
4.4: Data Changes
  • Unclear whether consent is obtained if the practices in which data are collected change.
4.5: Policy Enforcement
  • Accounts may be terminated if users engage in any prohibited activities.

5: Individual Control

5.1: User Content
  • Users can create or upload content.
5.2: User Consent
  • Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
5.3: Remedy Process
  • A grievance or remedy mechanism is available for users to file a complaint.
5.4: Data Settings
  • Users can control the use of their information through privacy settings.
5.5: Data Disclosure
  • Users can opt out from the disclosure or sale of their data to a third party.
  • Unclear whether users can request to know what personal information has been shared with third parties.
  • Notice is provided in the event the company receives a government or legal request for a user's information.
5.6: Intellectual Property
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • A copyright license is claimed to data or content collected from a user.
  • Any copyright license to a user's data is not limited in scope or duration.

6: Access and Accuracy

6.1: Data Access
  • Processes to access or review user data are available.
  • Methods are available to restrict who has access to data.
  • Unclear whether the school, parents, or students can review student data.
6.2: Data Integrity
  • Unclear whether the company attempts to maintain the accuracy of data they collect.
6.3: Data Correction
  • Processes to modify data are available for authorized users.
  • Unclear whether the school, parents, or students can modify inaccurate student information.
  • Unclear whether the time period for the company to modify inaccurate data is indicated.
6.4: Data Retention
  • A data-retention policy is available.
  • Exceptions to the data retention policy exist.
6.5: Data Deletion
  • Data are deleted when no longer necessary.
  • A user's data are deleted upon account cancellation or termination.
  • Processes to delete user data are available.
  • Processes for authorized users to delete data are available.
  • The time period for the company to delete data is indicated.
6.6: Data Portability
  • Processes to download user data are available.
  • Unclear whether a user can assign an authorized account manager or legacy contact.

7: Data Transfer

7.1: Data Handling
  • User information can be transferred to a third party in the event of a merge, acquisition, or bankruptcy.
  • Unclear whether notice is provided to users if the company assigns its rights or delegates its duties to another company.
  • Unclear whether users are notified if their information is transferred to a third party.
7.2: Transfer Request
  • Unclear whether user information can be deleted prior to its transfer to a third party.
7.3: Onward Contractual Obligations
  • Unclear whether third-party transfers are contractually required to use the same privacy practices.

8: Security

8.1: User Identity
  • A user's identity is verified with additional personal information.
8.2: User Account
  • Account creation is required.
  • Unclear whether managed accounts are available.
  • Unclear whether multi-factor account protection is available.
8.3: Third-Party Security
  • Unclear whether third-parties with access to information are required to provide the same security protections as the company.
8.4: Data Confidentiality
  • Reasonable security practices are used to protect data.
  • Unclear whether this product limits employee or physical access to user information.
8.5: Data Transmission
  • Unclear whether this product encrypts all data in transit.
8.6: Data Storage
  • Unclear whether all data are stored in an encrypted format.
  • Unclear what jurisdiction a user's personal information is subject to.
8.7: Data Breach
  • Unclear whether this product provides notice in the event of a data breach.
8.8: Data Oversight
  • Unclear whether this product performs data-privacy and/or security-compliance audits.

9: Responsible Use

9.1: Social Interactions
  • Users can interact with trusted users.
  • Users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information must be shared for social interactions.
9.2: Data Visibility
  • Personal information can be displayed publicly.
  • Users can control how their data are displayed to others.
9.3: Monitor and Review
  • User-created content is reviewed, screened, or monitored by the company.
  • User-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
  • Unclear whether social interactions between users are moderated.
  • Social interactions of users are logged.
9.4: Report Content
  • Users can filter or block inappropriate content.
  • Unclear whether users can report abuse or cyberbullying.
9.5: Internet Safety
  • The company provides links to resources that support safe and appropriate social interactions.

10: Advertising

10.1: Vendor Communications
  • A user can receive service- or administrative-related communications from the company.
10.2: Traditional Advertising
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
10.3: Behavioral Advertising
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
10.4: Ad Tracking
  • Data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • User's information is used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for personalised advertisements.
10.5: Filtered Advertising
  • Ads displayed to children are filtered for inappropriate content.
10.6: Marketing Communications
  • The company can send marketing messages.
  • The company does provide promotional sweepstakes, contests, or surveys.
10.7: Unsubscribe
  • Users can opt out of contextual, or personalised advertising.
  • Unclear whether users can opt out or unsubscribe from marketing communications.
10.8: Do Not Track
  • Unclear whether this product responds to "Do Not Track" or other opt-out mechanisms.
  • Unclear whether the company provides a method for users to opt-out from third-party tracking.

11: Compliance

11.1: Children Under 13
  • Company does not have actual knowledge that personal information from users under 13 years of age is collected.
  • The company does provide a section, heading, or separate policy for children in their policies.
  • Account creation is restricted or prohibited for users under 13 years of age.
11.2: Students in K–12
  • Unclear whether this product is primarily used by, designed for, and marketed toward students in grades preK–12.
  • Processes to enter education records into the product are not described.
  • Unclear whether additional rights or protections may be provided with an additional school contract.
  • Unclear whether the company is designated as a school official.
11.3: Parental Consent
  • Parental consent is required before personal information is collected or disclosed.
  • Unclear whether this product limits parental consent with respect to third parties.
  • Unclear whether this product allows parents to withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • Unclear whether this product deletes children's personal information if collected without parental consent.
  • Unclear whether this product provides parental consent notice and method for submission.
  • Unclear whether this product transfers parental consent obligations to the school or district.
11.4: Legal Requirements
  • The legal jurisdiction that applies to the laws governing the policies is indicated.
  • A user is required to waive the right to a jury trial, or settle any disputes by arbitration.
  • A user is required to waive the right to join a class action lawsuit.
  • A company will disclose personal information to law enforcement.
11.5: Certification
  • Unclear whether the company has signed a privacy pledge or received a privacy certification.
11.6: International Laws
  • A user's data are subject to International data transfer or jurisdiction laws.
  • The company has indicated it is a Data Controller or Data Processor.