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Concerns over photo app Snapchat

Wednesday 10 Jul 2013 5:34 p.m.

Police say they are investigating a number of complaints about a smartphone app called Snapchat that may result in prosecution.

Snapchat lets users take photos of themselves and send them to others, but deletes them again within seconds. But some have been saved and uploaded to Facebook without consent.

Aaron Bloodworth decided it would be a good idea to take a photo of himself, add a bit of crude art and sent it to friends.

"It hasn't haunted me but I've cut back on sending the creative naked Snapchat photos," he says.

Little did he know one of his friends would save it and upload it to a Victoria University Facebook site for the world to see.

"I could see the funny side of it, but at the same time I thought, 'Why are you doing this, putting it on Facebook?'"

Worldwide, 200 million rude, funny and sometimes explicit photos are taken with the Snapchat app every day.

The way Snapchat works is you take a photo, set the timer for how long you want it to last – say, five seconds – and then press send. The person receiving it has only five seconds to view it before it's deleted.

But if someone is quick enough, they can be saved and posted online.

Snapchat leaked Facebook pages have cropped up around the country. Dozens of schools have complained to NetSafe.

"They're disturbed about the sorts of things that are being put on the Snapchat sites and the students are disturbed about photos that have gone up that they didn't think were going to be available to the public," says NetSafe's Lee Chisholm. 

Now people posting sexually explicit photos could be charged. The police Online Child Exploitation team (OCEANZ) told 3 News in a statement: "Where children are involved, there is potential that those images could be classed as child abuse material, which opens the door to prosecution for those that then on-send."

"Just don't send photos that make you look bad or are going to end up elsewhere," says Mr Bloodworth.

It is a lesson he learned the hard way.

3 News

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