Snapchat Users Could Be Breaking The Law, Here’s How

By : Jennifer Browne |


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One of the features that makes Snapchat so great is the limit on how long someone else can see your picture.

From private jokes to x-rated selfies, many things wouldn’t be shared on the photo-sharing app if it wasn’t for the 10 second rule.

That said, the app’s time limit does lure some into a false sense of security considering the recipient can always screenshot the image – but at least the sender is alerted whenever someone screen-grabs them.

The sender isn’t however, alerted when that person decides to share that photo with one of their friends or with millions of people online. And that’s what could get you in trouble. Big trouble.

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Culture Minister Ed Vaizey stated recently that it’s completely illegal to redistribute a Snapchat image.

After being asked about the legality of Snapchat, he said:

Under UK copyright law, it would be unlawful for a Snapchat user to copy an image and make it available to the public without the consent of the image owner. The image owner would be able to sue anyone who does this for copyright infringement.

Snapchat photos are automatically deleted after 10 seconds. The Snapchat Privacy Policy states that if Snapchat is able to detect that a recipient has taken a screenshot of an image, they will try to inform the original poster. However, Snapchat advises users to avoid sending messages which they would not want to be saved or shared.

The disclosure of private sexual photographs or films without the consent of an individual who appears in them and with intent to cause that individual distress is an offence under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. Those convicted could face a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

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The minister also added that anyone who passes on sexual images without asking the person who took the photo could face an additional prison sentence, according to The Mirror.

So there you have it. If you ever screenshot an image on Snapchat, don’t share it. Not only is it probably not morally right to do it anyway, doing so could land you in some hot water, and maybe even prison.