Snapchat and Poke are supposed to be iPhone apps that can share a short personal video that the sender intends to not be available once it has been watched; however, both apps have issues that make it possible to watch those videos, or share them with people the sender never intended to see the clip, on a permanent basis.
Buzzfeed has posted a tutorial illustrating how easy it is to access videos sent using Facebook Poke or Snapshot. Both iPhone apps store videos in the tmp cache folder, so it’s possible to access the clips using a file browser like iFunBox. As long as the recipient doesn’t view the video in the app, he or she can copy the file to a computer and continue viewing it beyond the intended time or even send the video to other people.
The workaround doesn’t appear to work for photos, but there is an existing way to access photos in the Android Snapchat app. When Buzzfeed asked Snapchat about the oversight of making videos available beyond the one-time viewing that senders expect, founder Evan Spiegel said:
“The people who most enjoy using Snapchat are those who embrace the spirit and intent of the service. There will always be ways to reverse engineer technology products – but that spoils the fun!”
Spiegel’s attitude downplays the significance of people believing that they are sending private or potentially embarrassing media without realizing the problems it could create. This episode serves as a reminder that Snapchat and Poke are not as simple and temporary as the apps would have users believe, so it’s best to not send anything that someone wouldn’t be comfortable with becoming public.