Why We Ban Screenshots

We put immense focus on features that will ensure ultra-privacy and banning screenshots is a huge part of that mission. Why? The answer is simple: To protect our users’ private conversations, files and images.


Currently, there is no law protecting people against having their private conversations captured by a screenshot however, it is safe to say, that most are guilty of taking them – whether it be of a funny Instagram story, a sneaky screenshot of a message to get a friend’s opinion, or to post a text exchange on an online social media group to put someone on blast. We’ve all been there and most will recall the little voice in the back of our heads questioning whether what we are about to do is really okay? 


In 2015, a rumour started floating around that Apple would be notifying users if a screenshot was taken of their message conversations. The public went into a frenzy – some people even stating they would get two phones – one to use as they normally would and one to take pictures of the firsts’ screen. Yes, a little dramatic, but who wasn’t in 2015? 


Just this week, Kanye West posted (and since deleted) screenshots of private messages between himself and, soon-to-be ex-wife, Kim Kardashian on his Instagram account, one of which Kim asked “Why can’t you keep any of our conversations private ???”. And of course, the internet did what it does best, screengrabbed those images which, in less than a few hours, went viral.


We can all agree that this is a major breach of trust and personal privacy – a human right that each of us have that often gets overlooked when it comes to the digital world. We believe everyone should have a space where they can communicate and share with one another without the looming fear that your personal messages and images – especially those that can be taken out of context or those that catch you on a bad day – will be put out there for the world to see and ridicule. 


What are we doing about it? We have completely disabled screenshots on Android and will be appealing to Apple to allow us to do the same on iOS. In the meantime, when a screenshot is attempted on iOS, we notify users and erase the entire message thread. A little dramatic, but hey… screenshots are grounds for friendship divorce. 


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