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Snapchat Employees Abused Users’ Private Data: Report

Snapchat’s daily active users were 190 million — up two per cent from 186 million in the previous quarter but down from 191 million in Q1 2018

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Snapchat is reportedly planning to launch more
Snapchat in a Smartphone. IANS

Workers across several departments at photo-messasing platform Snapchat who have privileged access to users’ data spied on them for years, a Motherboard report has claimed.

These employees used “SnapLion”, an internal tool used by various departments, to access Snapchat user data like location information, saved Snaps (photos or videos), phone numbers and email addresses.

“Two former employees said multiple Snap employees abused their access to Snapchat user data several years ago,” said the report.

Snapchat, which has 190 million daily active users globally, said that protecting privacy is paramount at the company.

“We keep very little user data, and we have robust policies and controls to limit internal access to the data we do have. Unauthorized access of any kind is a clear violation of the company’s standards of business conduct and, if detected, results in immediate termination,” the company was quoted as saying.

Snapchat, smartphones
An image of the Snapchat logo created with Post-it notes is seen in lower Manhattan, New York, May 18, 2016. VOA

The internal tool “SnapLion” was originally used to gather information on users in response to valid law enforcement requests.

An internal Snap email obtained by Motherboard said a department called “Customer Ops” has access to SnapLion. Security staff also had access to the tool.

One of the former employees said that data access abuse occurred “a few times” at Snap.

Also Read- Facebook Pulls Down Over 3 Billion Fake Accounts

Photo-messaging app Snapchat added four million new users in the first quarter of 2019, registering a revenue of $320 million — up 39 per cent (year-over-year).

Snapchat’s daily active users were 190 million — up two per cent from 186 million in the previous quarter but down from 191 million in Q1 2018. (IANS)

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Researchers Associate Social Media Use to Eating Disorder in Adolescents

Social media use linked to eating disorder in children

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Eating disorder due to social media
Excessive use of Social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat is linked with eating disorder among children. Pixabay

Parents, take a note. Researchers have found that excessive use of social media, particularly platforms with a strong focus on image posting and viewing such as Snapchat and Instagram, is associated with eating disorder in young adolescents.

For the study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, researchers examined data on 996 grade 7 and 8 adolescents.

“While a range of studies have focused on the impact of social media on body image, this is the first to examine the relationship between specific social media platforms and disordered eating behaviours and thoughts,” said study lead author Simon Wilksch from Flinders University in Australia.

Also, most other studies had focused on older adolescents or young-adult women, he said.

Eating disorder in teenagers
Adolescents develop eating disorder due to meal skipping. Pixabay

The study on associations between disordered eating and social media use among young adolescent girls and boys suggested that much more needed to be done to increase resilience in young people to become less adversely impacted by social media pressures, Wilksch added.

During the study, the research team found behaviours related to disordered eating were reported by 51.7 per cent of girls and 45 per cent of boys, with strict exercise and meal skipping being the most common.

Of these, 75.4 per cent girls and 69.9 per cent boys had at least one social media account, and Instagram was the most common.

Also Read- Fake News Spreads Like Wildfire On Social Media

According to the study, greater number of social media accounts and greater time spent on them were associated with a higher likelihood of disordered eating, thoughts and behaviours.

The researchers are launching an Australia-wide trial of the Media Smart Online programme designed to combat such pressures. (IANS)