Sad news for Snapchat users of Windows Phone – on Saturday, users browsing Windows Phone Store found that no third-party app for Snapchat client was available. 6Snap, the most popular alternative to the instant texting software, was also gone.
This was a hard blow for Windows Phone users since WP doesn’t have any official app to allow them to download content from Snapchat. Android and iOS have such apps and many Snapchat users now plan to switch to iPhones or other smartphones.
The move, although destabilizing, was not unexpected. Snapchat team has been sending warning e-mails to their users to stop using third-party apps since last month. Users complained about it, complied with the new rules or got their accounts suspended.
Snapchat staff says that using third-party apps to connect to their service makes their users’ systems highly vulnerable to unwanted hacks. Two months ago, a major hack lead to the leakage of 13 Gigabytes’ worth of Snapchat content that is currently available to download from an on-line data base.
Snapchat said that their servers had no security breach and lost zero information, so the problem must have been user-sided.
After the event, Snapchat started urging users by e-mails to stop using unofficial third-party apps to connect to their servers. Many users have complained that their accounts had been either suspended or permanently locked. Snapchat team said that the permanently locked accounts belonged to users that failed to comply with their requests of giving up third-party software after a second warning.
ESET, a cyber-security firm, also confirmed Snapchat’s statements about the dangers of using unofficial software:
“It is important to keep in mind that while an initial product or service may be quite secure, plug-ins, add-ons, extensions and third-party offerings used with it may not be subject to the same high levels of security, reliability or confidentiality.”
Rudy Huyn, developer of 6Snap, said on Twitter that Snapchat urged Microsoft to remove his app from its store. Mr. Huyn also said that he “would work closely with Microsoft to convince Snapchat to change its mind.”
However, tech experts say that this ban on third-party software may not be permanent, since Snapchat plans to design a mobile messaging platform that would require an official API. This PI may also be used by third parties to connect to Snapchat servers without compromising its users’ privacy.
However, getting rid of third parties for good may lead to an important increase in revenues for Snapchat since all the on-line traffic needed for ads would not be shared with other developers.
Image Source: Tech Crunch