Snapchat -

Contract Title Snapchat
Contract Website
Contract Application Snapchat mobile and web
Contract Type app with website
Contract Date 09/26/2017
TOS Website
Total Rating 54.44

Total Page Count 27

Terms: 18 pages; Privacy: 7 pages; Political Ad Guide: 2 pages. So there are two terms of services within one. One is dated 9/26/17 and is for those in the USA; and another dated May 15, 2018, which is for those living outside of the USA. Quite confusing that one document has two effective dates. There should be ONE terms of service, and that's it.

The Right to Privacy 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: No email address provided. ANY snap you send can be saved or copied by the person who receives it, which is not clearly stated when you sign up, and sort of defies the entire 'marketing angle' of the app. "Don't send messages or share content that you wouldn't want someone to save or share."--so correct the public then about the misconception of the disappearing messages. They know everyone you talk to, how many messages you send to each, and if you capture screenshots. If you consent, they get access to entire phonebook. They have a poor law enforcement request policy, complying with mere 'legal process' and 'government request'. If in the midst of a merger or sale, they share your information even before the transaction closes. They delete snaps usually, but "we may need to suspect those deletion practices if we receive valid legal process asking us to preserve content or if we receive reports of abuse or other TOS violations". This is terrible, because this ide of 'disappearing messages' is not really true. Further, as mentioned, 'legal process' is a sneaky legal term to mean, "we'll comply with any law enforcement request, even if there is no subpoena". Doesn't clearly address account recovery and the cell phone porting problem.

GOOD ASPECTS: Not written in legalese for the most part. Very nice and friendly tone. Subscribes to the EU/US and Swiss/US Privacy Shield. But what about privacy shields for people in other countries? On p6, they state, "we automatically delete the content of your snaps... from our services after we detect that a snap has been opened by all recipients or has expired'. This is good, but it should be stated earlier. There is a caveat to this statement, however, stated above. If you delete your account, you have 30 days to restore it.

The Right to Equal, Fair, & Reasonable Expression 0 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: "We may... delete your content at any time and for any reason."


The Right to Control My Intellectual Property 1 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: The non-exclusive license is sublicensable, transferable, and... applies to all NON-PUBLIC content for among other things, 'promoting' the services. This is curious. Aren't photos that you send as a snap privately considered 'non-public content'? If so, doesn't this clause mean that they can use your private photos to publicly promote Snapchat? And it's transferable to ANY third party? Very suspect. There is also a 'modify' clause.

GOOD ASPECTS: Seems to honor the DMCA, but it's not clear the process for verifying whether a copyright infringement is accurate.

The Right to Sue 1 out of 5

Laws of California (for USA users) and England & Wales (for outside of USA users).

BAD ASPECTS: you can sue, but it seems only in small claims court, so not really. If you CAN sue, only in US District Court for Central District of California or the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles. Venue is forced upon you.

GOOD ASPECTS: You can file small claims cases.

The Right to Low-Cost Arbitration 2 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: You are forced into arbitration. There is an opt-out, but only within 30 days. This clause is hidden on page 9, and not mentioned anywhere on page 1, or on the website. Recovery is limited to $100 on page 7.

GOOD ASPECTS: If claim is less than $10,000, you can arbitrate via a binding non-appearance, i.e. you may be able to arbitrate via phone or mail. If you do arbitrate, you don't have to pay for anything--Snap will handle all arbitration fees. But, if it requires an appearance in person, you won't be reimbursed for airfare, hotel, and time lost out in Los Angeles. This arbitration requirement can be waived by the party against whom a claim is brought, i.e. if Snap decides to arbitrate against you, you can refuse, and demand a day in court. This could be argued as a good thing, but the issue is that in most cases, you would be the one initiating arbitration, and so you didn't get a choice, but then they get a choice to continue with arbitration or move the venue to a court of law.

The Right to Join a Class Action 0 out of 5

Waived completely.

The Right to No Hidden Terms or Fees 3 out of 5

GOOD ASPECTS: Don't seem to be many hidden terms or hidden fees.

BAD ASPECTS: If you are using the service on behalf of a business of the US Gov't, there is a different addendum you have to find. You are responsible for ANY activity on the account, even if hacked. You can only have one account. There is NO passcode recovery system for "Memories". If you change your phone number, you must update your account in 72 hours to prevent messages being sent to someone else--this isn't clear up front.

The Right to Fair Process & To Be Heard 0 out of 5

No due process. No warning process. No opportunity to correct. No defense period. No fair and impartial decision-making process.

The Right to Appeal & The Right to Return 0 out of 5

No appeal process. No second chance/right to return.

The Right to Reasonable Terms 2 out of 5

BAD ASPECTS: There are separate community guidelines that you only discover if you get to page 3 of the TOS. The final terms are defined as "these terms, together with any additional terms." What? That's absurd. Huge limitation of liability. No warranties at all. On page 10, the non USA TOS begins, and yet, these terms seem almost exactly the same as the USA terms, except different disclaimers, liability, and dispute resolution. So why not just alter those few sections? No need for such a huge repeat of information. Outside the USA, you are limited to 100 Euro in damages or the total of the last 12 months paid to Snap, Inc. Those outside the USA must follow the laws of England & Wales. GOOD ASPECTS: Not too many hidden terms.

Historical Fairness 5.44 out of 10
Historical User Ratings 10.0 out of 10
Historical Lack of Lawsuits or Arbitrations 10.0 out of 10
Public Placement of TOS Fairness Score & Link 20.0 out of 20
Total Rating 54.44 out of 100
Additional Note

Emails:, "Snap, Inc. is a camera company." No you're not. You're an app that puts filters on photos taken on Apple (a real camera company) products. That's misleading.

Ways to improve

1. Don't have two different dates on the same document. Confusing.
2. Make just one TOS, with separate sections for US and foreign, and combine Privacy Policy with it
3. Make it more clear that the disappearing snap feature is not always available, and that others can easily store and save them
4. Fix the law enforcement request--it's way too broad
5. The IP police is confusing, and overly broad.
6. Allow anyone to sue you at anytime, from their home city, with no limit on recovery.
7. Allow anyone to arbitrate, from their home city, with no limit on recovery.
8. Allow class action lawsuits.
9. Many issues are unclear and should be explained up front, and more clearly.
10. Create fair process and a right to be heard.
11. Create right to appeal and right to return
12. Get rid of the repeat clauses in the international version--unnecessary. Reduce page count by at least 40%.
13. Add your TOS rating and link to your TOS page as outlined in our guidelines. You currently are being given all 20 points.

Review Status Completed

First Name Rating Comment

Reviewed by the following attorneys and/or law students:

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First Name Last Name Country Last updated
Monroe Mann USA - NY 05/22/2018
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