By Elle Belfatto     Snapchat is a very popular, free photo-sharing app used by lots of young people. These photos can’t be resurfaced by the sender unless saved, and the recipient can only view the image for no more than ten seconds, then it disappears. However, these photos don’t necessarily get deleted. Each photo goes through many servers between your phone and your friend’s phone. It goes from your phone, to your wireless carrier’s servers, to the Snapchat server, to your friend’s wireless carrier’s servers, and finally to your friend’s phone.

“You should not use Snapchat to send messages if you want to be certain that the recipient cannot keep a copy.” –Snapchat Privacy Page

The image is even still stored in both your and your friend’s phones, under a different file name, after it expires. The image often is still saved to the Snapchat servers also.

    Part of the reason why Snapchat is free is because they’re collecting your information. Snapchat was originally made to be a “Safe Sexting” app because the photo only “exists” for ten seconds max, therefore it is believed that the photos can’t be spread. However, if the user isn’t careful, these private photos are being saved, because as a part of their terms and conditions, if you don’t opt out, they can save these photos for as long as they want, royalty free. According to their website, “you retain all ownership rights in your User Content. However, by submitting User Content to Snapchat, you hereby grant us a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such User Content in connection with the Services, subject to your use of privacy settings in the Services to control who can see your User Content.”

The ultimate goal of Snapchat appears to be eventually selling your “user content.” If you’re “private” photos surface on the internet, this can ruin your reputation.

A lot of people use the app innocently among friends to goof around. These people aren’t as worried about the things mentioned previously, “I’m not worried about either the leaks or selling of photos as information that Snapchat does. I personally don’t care because I haven’t ever sent anything that would embarrass me or get me in trouble in the future,” said frequent Snapchat user, senior Sequoia Depoe-Fellows. It is true, if you don’t do anything that could be incriminating maybe this isn’t something to worry about, however if you’re uncomfortable with the fact that Snapchat could be selling your photos and viewing them, you may want to delete the app.

Snapchat isn’t necessarily evil. However, the public needs to be aware of how the internet works and the fact that nothing can be kept private or secret. A lot of people believe in this idea of privacy on the internet, but this does not exist anymore. Everything you do on the internet is being stored for some purpose.

Even if you don’t do anything potentially incriminating on the internet, it is still unsettling to know that your sent snaps and Facebook posts and Tweets aren’t your property once posted and can be sold to anyone or used at any time without your consent. “If you don’t want people to see your private photos, don’t send them via the internet or text unless you’re okay with everyone seeing them. Nothing is private or secret anymore,” said junior Nancy Cornejo.