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Opinion: Snapcash not immune to its own ‘Snappening’

Snapchat co-creators Bobby Murphy (left) and Evan Spiegel are seen through a window at the company’s offices in May 2013 in Venice, Calif. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Snapchat co-creators Bobby Murphy (left) and Evan Spiegel are seen through a window at the company’s offices in May 2013 in Venice, Calif.
Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Snapchat: A popular social media app used for sending pictures, videos, and … money?

On Monday, Snapchat released its latest update, known as “Snapcash.” Through its partnership with Square, a mobile payment service, you can now exchange money with your Snapchat friends with the touch of a button. 

All you have to do is link the app to your debit card and … wait a minute. 

This app used to be for sending pictures. Let’s back up a little bit. 

When Snapchat was first released in 2011, its only function was to privately send pictures to friends. 

Since then, updates have been made including the addition of videos and the “My Story” which is basically the equivalent of a Facebook status and lets people know what you’re doing via pictures and videos. 

But this new update doesn’t make much sense.

There has already been concern since Snapchat’s creation because it has been used as a medium for “sexting.” 

It doesn’t seem like the smartest idea to combine a picture-sharing, sexting-prone app with a mobile-payment system. That’s getting awfully close to paying for pornographic images and videos.

While you have to be at least 18 years old to set up a bank account with Snapcash, that won’t stop people from taking pictures of others who might not be of age.

So why would Snapchat even add this new feature?

Perhaps they are trying to keep up with the other emerging money-transferring apps, like Venmo.

Venmo, a newly popular app, allows people to link to their bank accounts and transfer money to one another, and that is its only purpose. It also lets you password protect the app completely, ensuring that only you can access the app. 

Snapchat is not a password-protected app because it’s never had a reason to be. It’s for photo sharing!

Anyone with access to your phone could open up the app.

Not only does this update seem unnecessary, but it makes me weary because of Snapchat’s unreliability with privacy. 

In December 2013, Snapchat was hacked, and millions of usernames and phone numbers were released.

As if that wasn’t enough, the company was allegedly hacked again in October 2014. 

This incident has become known as the “Snappening.” It was reported that hackers had released thousands of actual pictures that people had privately sent to others. 

If Snapchat can’t protect our pictures and videos, how can they expect to keep our money safe?

As a Snapchat user myself, I don’t feel safe trusting the app with my money and refuse to use this new feature.

“We set out to make payments faster and more fun,” wrote Snapchat in one of their recent blog posts about Snapcash.

This unlikely combination might make transferring money easier, but at what cost? It’s an easy app for someone to take advantage of if they have another person’s phone. It allows people to exchange money for naked pictures. The app is already prone to hacks and leaks, so it’s only natural to expect more of the same.

The risks are piling up and severely outweighing the benefits for this unexpected update.

As much as Snapchat might want to stay relevant in the world of social media, I think they tried a little too hard this time, and they could be in for some serious trouble.

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