Feeds

Self-destructing selfies? Not so fast! Snapchat now offers one-time Replay

'Sorry, I couldn't see – er – HEAR you the first time'

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Stealthy selfie service Snapchat has added a new feature to its mobile apps that makes it possible for users to hang onto messages for longer than the senders may have intended.

Dubbed "Replay," the feature added to Snapchat 6.1.0 for Android and iOS allows users to view a Snapchat message, image, or video a second time before the content is deleted from their phones.

That's a significant change for Snapchat, which so far has billed itself as a service where users can feel free to send racy or otherwise compromising photos, confident in the fact that they can be viewed by the intended recipient only once, and only for a limited time (measured in seconds).

In an interview with The Verge, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said Replay doesn't completely change Snapchat's model. For one thing, he said, you can't use Replay as often as you want.

"You only get one a day, so you've got to use it where it counts," Spiegel said.

For another, Replay only allows users one additional viewing of each message. After the second viewing, the message is deleted from the recipient's phone – and Spiegel says the messages are still deleted from Snapchat's servers after the first viewing.

Even so, the change is bound to worry some Snapchat users, since it means Snapchat messages are now retained on their recipients' phones for longer than they were before. That in turn presumably means they'll be easier for law enforcement, nosy parents, or jealous significant others to retrieve.

But then, security researchers have long warned that Snapchat is hardly a fortress of privacy. A number of hacks have emerged that can save Snapchat images to users' phones permanently, and a group of Canadian teens was recently charged with child pornography for doing just that. What's more, a recent clarification of Snapchat's privacy policy made plain that the company has a number of ways of retrieving messages for police when compelled by a search warrant.

According to Spiegel, the main purpose of Replay is to give Snapchat users a second chance to decipher messages, such as when a message arrives with audio that's garbled or hard to hear.

The feature isn't switched on automatically, either. To activate it, users must download the latest version of the Snapchat app and then enable Replay in the Additional Services menu. Note that this only activates Replay on the receiver's device, however; senders don't get to choose whether their messages are eligible for Replay.

In addition to Replay, the new version of the app includes a few photo filters, a la Instagram, which must also be activated in Additional Services.

"We just decided as a holiday present to the Snapchat community that we would put out a couple things we thought were fun," a sanguine Spiegel told The Verge. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.