A tech news site has discovered that videos sent to iPhones through Snapchat are still viewable from a file browser, a finding that came after Facebook launched its Facebook Poke app for iOS devices to delete photos and messages within 10 seconds after reading.
BuzzFeed revealed that videos sent via the Snapchat app for iPhones designed to evaporate in seconds automatically are actually preserved and easily reviewed.
Snapchat is popular among mobile device users, for it supposedly deletes private or naughty images and clips automatically after a short delay of no more than 10 seconds.
After hearing news about the exploit, Snapchat admitted the app was always likely to fall prey to reverse engineering attempts.
With just an easy to download and widely available file browsing software on the computer, BuzzFeed staff reporter Katie Notopoulos bared that Snapchat and Facebook Poke stored deleted copies of video clips.
According to the BBC, Snapchat launched its ability to send video through the platform two weeks ago, December 14.
Notopoulos found it was possible to browse to the file and view the copies if a user connected the iPhone to a laptop or desktop computer and scan through its internal memory from a file browser when videos were loaded but left unopened.
She said unviewed videos remained stored in a ‘tmp’ folder by Snapchat or “mediacard” by Facebook Poke, and a simple copying of the files from these folders to a computer’s hard drive circumvented the automatic deletion.
While Snapchat has an Android app version, Notopoulos no longer bothered to try out on Google’s mobile operating system if copies of the videos will remain intact.
Earlier this month, however, Snapchat released a fix for a bug that previously placed permanent versions of unwatched videos into an Android phone’s media gallery.
Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel only told Notopoulos that users who loved the service will not bother to view the videos again since it only “spoils the fun” and acknowledged the reverse engineering of tech products.
For its part, Facebook has yet to respond on BuzzFeed’s findings about the Facebook Poke app for iOS.
Poke, a messaging app for video, photos or even plain old text messages that are destroyed 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds after they arrive, is Facebook’s rival app for Snapchat that was built in just 12 days.
So far, Facebook Poke is not that popular than its rivals, while Snapchat still is one of the most downloaded apps in the App Store.