Is Snapchat Selling Your Phone Number?

Recently Snapchat updated it’s privacy policy (though it may have been operating in this way in the past) you can review the full privacy policy here.

I’ve been using Snapchat less due to Instagram stories and I only found out about this via Social Media Examiner and Mike Stelzner. (Thanks Mike!)

Here is the part of the Privacy Policy and Terms that should scare you:

Screenshot of Snapchat Privacy Policy as of 01/13/2017

Now that sounds pretty vague, so let me add context to what they are sharing as highlighted in the screenshots from the Snapchat Privacy Policy below:

Screenshot of Snapchat Privacy Policy as of 01/13/2017

In other words, they can identify you by collecting information from your friends phone book, even if you are not on Snapchat. Your information could potentially be up for grabs even if you leave Snapchat or never use it because your friends are using it. That’s troubling on several levels, considering how many of us don’t just but phone numbers in on our contacts, but also social media information, personal notes photos to identify people, as well as email addresses.


Snapchat isn’t saying this outright, and I’m not accusing them of this directly *disclaimer!!! But in my opinion as a marketer there are a few parts of this privacy policy that concern me as a user…

Screenshot of Snapchat Privacy Policy as of 01/13/2017

Given the information they can provide to third parties such as advertisers, partners and other entities, I don’t imagine they are going to hand over that data out of the goodness of their hearts to help people market their business and sell their products. Which at least suggest a transaction will take place… concerning your information.

Would you call that selling information?

Here is the thing, creatively I’m a fan of Snapchat and I think it is a great marketing tool for brands if used correctly. I’m not using it nearly as much because of the simple fact that I see more results for my audience elsewhere, but even if I used it more, this could be a deal breaker for me.

However they are getting ready to do an IPO (Initial Public Offering) which means they have to disclose certain information and make changes in preparation of selling the stock. So I get it, but what concerns me is, that they may have been operating this way all along and not making it clear to the users…. we want and need transparency.

I’d love for them to confirm when exactly this information was being shared, for how long and whether users have been able to to opt out or consent and if they didn’t due to the functionality of the app being limited, what limitations to the app would they see? I’d really just like some clarity as I’m sure you would if you’re still reading.

If you are an active Snapchat user, or if you are a Snapchat Influencer or a Company that use Snapchat for business, I’d love to know your thoughts and concerns regarding this.

Is it even something to worry about?

Should we accept that all companies are doing something like this and get over it? (As a marketer and content creator, I have mixed feelings).

What are your thoughts and reasoning?

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