Find Friends is an optional service
Is Find Friends really optional? Yes. Is it obvious that it’s optional? Not at all.
I signed up for a new Snapchat account and went through the sign-up flow. Here’s the Find Friends screen. Does this look optional? (Click to enlarge.)
Nope. When Snapchat says Find Friends is “optional,” it’s offering a technical, legalistic definition of the term. Nowhere does the app tell you that you can skip this step — though if you try hitting the right arrow without entering in a phone number, the app will let you skip entering in a number. But I suspect that a small number of people are doing this.
Also of note: This screen says that phone numbers will only be used to find friends. That’s true, technically, because that’s how Snapchat itself uses the info.
But Snapchat has known, for months, that others can easily access this info. Researchers at Gibson Security posted their first exploration of Snapchat’s flaws in August. Since then, several developers have created clones of Snapchat — meaning other apps that can also access the cache of numbers entered into the app. And Snapchat seems to have done very little in response to these disclosures.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Find Friends Abuse” by Snapchat and leave a comment on the lyrics box