Is it Safe to Send Nude Pics on Snapchat?
The internet is everywhere now, and so is your trail of personal photos, blog posts, Facebook comments, tweets, and more. This permanent record of your life makes a lot of people nervous. How long will this stuff stay out there, and who will see it? That’s why many people turn to Snapchat—a social media tool whose main selling point is impermanence. Click a photo, send it away, and a few seconds after being viewed, it vanishes forever. And that’s also why, perhaps not surprisingly, this tool has become very popular for people who want to share their most intimate selves with their partners. But do those Snapchat photos really disappear forever? How can you be sure?
If you’re tempted to send off a photo of yourself showing off your birthday suit, be warned: that photo may yet come back to haunt you.
Used for general socializing, Snapchat is a great network to share your life with others. You can take snaps, add text and emoji, and generally express yourself however you like. Movie stars, rock stars, fashion icons, and all those people we love to watch are also on the network, making it the place to be for keeping up with the world around us. However, there is another side to Snapchat, sexting.
Theoretically, you would think it safe to send nude pics on Snapchat. After all, the image disappears after 10 seconds never to be seen again, right? Not so fast.
Cheating the system
Perform a quick internet search for “save Snapchat pics,” or words to that effect, and you’ll see a few hundred websites showing you how to keep snaps you are sent. Some will even show you how to do it without notifying the sender that you’re saving the snap. That should send off alarm bells.
By default, Snapchat detects when you take a screenshot on your device while the app is open. If you’re taking a screenshot of a snap, Snapchat informs the sender. All well and good, but that doesn’t make the snap go away. It will likely stop someone sending more, but the damage may already be done.
And it’s fairly easy to prevent this notification from being sent:
- Turn on Airplane mode on your device when the snap you want to keep appears.
- Take a screenshot of the snap.
- Remove the screenshot alert on the phone.
- Turn off Airplane mode.
Turning off airplane mode stops Snapchat from informing the other party that you have taken a screenshot of the snap.
Alternatively, you can take a picture of the screen with another camera or use an emulator such as Bluestacks to run Snapchat on a PC and take traditional screenshots without Snapchat detecting it. As always, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
There are of course plenty of nefarious reasons one might want to steal your naughty selfie, but there’s one particularly egregious phenomenon called ‘outing,’ and unfortunately, it’s a common practice across all social networks. The term refers to people sharing naked images of another without their consent. There are, sadly, entire websites dedicated to hosting this material, and they often feature nude pics saved from Snapchat.
While you do have legal rights over your images, enforcing those rights can be next to impossible.
Other compelling reasons why you should not send nude pics on Snapchat
Aside from outing, there are a number of reasons why you should never send nude pics of yourself on Snapchat or any other app.
The internet is forever
The idea that images are only online temporarily, or that social networks come and go, is not entirely true. Images are archived, entire websites are recorded, reverse image lookups make finding identities easy, and images are often copied from one website to others.
Nothing is ever truly deleted from the web. Visit The Wayback Machine to see complete archives of nearly every website ever published. Type in a URL of a website or web page of a site long gone and prepare to be amazed.
Once it’s out there, it’s out there
Before posting anything to a social network, ask yourself, “would I be happy with my boss/mother/father/sister/partner seeing this?” If the answer is no, don’t post it. While your intended audience may have no intention of showing it to anyone, once you send that pic, your control over it ends.
If you have a falling out with the recipient, you have to then trust them not do anything with that image.
I’ve mentioned it already, but this point is important, so it’s worth repeating. Once you post something online, in Snapchat or anywhere, you lose control of it. It’s out there, free for anyone to do with what they will. That could mean nothing, which is great. It could also mean something, which isn’t so great.
Revenge porn, outing, blackmail and more can all begin with the wrong nude pic in the wrong hands. While it may never happen, it’s a serious risk.
There’s feature in Snapchat called Snapchat Story, which allows you to share images and videos—but they do not self-destruct. It’s far too easy to accidentally post something to a Snapchat Story rather than as a direct message. While you can quickly remove it, you have to pray that nobody saw the image or video you just posted.
If you accidentally hit that little rectangle icon with the plus in it, you are out there. You will need to move fast to take it down before someone notices it. Here’s how:
- Select the Story you just posted.
- Tap the trash icon on the bottom of the screen.
- Confirm deletion.
The snap will now be deleted, hopefully before anyone noticed it!
You don’t know who you’re talking to
Unless you do actually know the person you are talking to, you have no idea who the other person is, how old they are, what they want and what they will do with your nude selfie. That person could be much older, much younger, a criminal or just generally untrustworthy. And even if you think you’re communicating with someone you know and trust, you can never be absolutely certain it’s them in possession of their phone. Maybe they lost their phone on the bus, maybe a roommate picked it up, you can never be totally sure.
Colleges and employers check social networks
While in theory, snaps should never appear on a social network or anywhere online, as you now know, that doesn’t mean they won’t. Having your nude pics hijacked not only makes life difficult in the here and now, it can also have ramifications further down the line. Colleges, recruiters, scouts and potential employers all check a potential candidate’s social network accounts to get an idea of their personality.
What if one checked your name and found your nude pics?
Coming of age
Age may be relative to us but in the eyes of the law it is definitive. People can get into untold amounts of legal trouble sexting with a minor, even if they didn’t know the person’s age. While the issue may be resolved eventually, this is a situation no right-minded person would want to be involved in.
Unless you know or can verify the age of the person you’re talking to, you are at risk.
We have all done dumb things in the heat of the moment. Previously, if someone made a mistake, it could be kept quiet or hopefully between those involved. But with the internet and social networks, that’s no longer true.
If you think you might do something stupid or send a nude pic on Snapchat and feel guilty afterwards, don’t do it. Nobody is worth that.
Is it safe to send nude pics on Snapchat?
I think by now you’ve figured out that it isn’t safe to send nude pics on Snapchat. But if you still feel it’s worth the risk, just be sensible about what you post.
- Avoid full face shots if posing nude.
- Hide distinguishing marks such as tattoos.
- Be very selective about who you send them to.
- Build up a level of trust before sharing any personal information.
- If your gut says stop, stop.
Be careful, out there!
Got any other tips for staying safe on Snapchat? Tell us about your experiences below.