Several Snapchat employees have spied on the user’s account by using internal tools to accessing information such as location, phone numbers, and their own saved Snaps. The data abuse happened a few time and involved multiple people, two of the former employees who are involved told Motherboard about the abuse that happened several years ago.
Snapchat has many internal tools for the employees which allows them access users data for legitimate reasons like and enforcing its policies. One tool called SnapLion was made to help comply with law enforcement requests. It was used by many Snapchat teams, provided maximum authority to them ‘keys to the Kingdom.’
The employees further said that SnapLion is a play on words with the common acronym for law enforcement officer LEO. One of the employees referred it as a reference to the cartoon character Leo the Lion. The company’s Spam and abuse team have accessed as per the former employee but a current employee suggested the tool is used to combat bullying or harassment on the platform by other users.
“Any perception that employees might be spying on our community is highly troubling and wholly inaccurate,” a Snap spokesperson said in an emailed statement Friday. “We keep very little user data, and we have robust policies and controls to limit internal access to the data we do have, including data within tools designed to support law enforcement. Unauthorized access of any kind is a clear violation of the company’s standards of business conduct and, if detected, results in immediate termination.”
An internal Snapchat email obtained by Motherboard explains a department called customers ops has gotten their hand on SnapLion.
However, Snapchat has always laid emphasis on user privacy and strict access control but somehow the company now lacks credibility after this news. This security access highlight an important thing which we users might have forgotten. The social media apps we use every day have people behind which could access some highly sensitive data, and without proper protection in the place, those same people may abuse it to spy on users’ private information or profiles.