It's the news we all kind of feared but never wanted to hear be true: Snapchat employees have been spying on us.
Motherboard has learned that Snap dedicate tools for accessing user data, but multiple employees have been abusing those privileges to access to spy on Snapchat users.
Two former employees have said that multiple Snap employees abused the access to Snapchat user data several years ago.
Those sources, plus two former employees, a current employee, and a bunch of internal company emails obtained by Motherboard, show the tools that allowed Snap employees to access user data, including in some cases location information, their own saved Snaps and personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses.
One of the tools that employees use to access data is called SnapLion.
Its purpose is to help gather information on users in for valid law enforcement requests. But it was abused.
SnapLion provides "the keys to the kingdom," one of the former employees has described.
An email obtained by Motherboard shows a Snap employee using SnapLion to look up an email address linked to an account in a non-law enforcement context, and a second email shows how the tool can be used in investigations against child abuse.
A Snap spokesperson has written in an email statement “Protecting privacy is paramount at Snap. 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."
Be careful what you Snap, kids.