Around 200,000 Snapchat photos and video messages were reportedly hacked and some were released on the site 4chan, on Thursday. Shocked users of the notorious chat forum 4chan are referring to the hack as “The Snappening,” The website is notably where the hacked nude photos of celebrities were posted in late August.
Because of the fact that half of Snapchat’s users are aged between 13 and 17, there is concern that many of the images may be of children. If the photos are believed to be explicit, possession and distribution of them could lead to prison time.
One poster has claimed that the full leak will take place on 12 October, and will be uploaded to a searchable database, which suggests the images will be linked to Snapchat user IDs.
The first to report on the possible Snapchat breach was blogger Kenny Withers, who discovered the news based on conversations held on the anonymous forum-based website 4chan, although the original threads are no longer on the site.
Withers claims that a 4chan user said to have accessed the accounts of 200,000 users of the app Snap Save, a third-party application that allows Snapchat users to save photos sent to them via Snapchat without the sender’s knowledge.
For that reason, company’s spokeswoman explained in an issued statement that the photo messaging app explicitly warns users not to use any third-party apps, which are created by separate developers as “add-ons”.
“We vigilantly monitor the App Store and Google Play for illegal third-party apps and have succeeded in getting many of these removed.”
The app came under fire earlier this year after hackers published 4.6 million Snapchat user names and phone numbers on a website. Police and children’s charities have previously warned teenagers over the dangers of using the app to send explicit images, which can be saved or copied, reports the Telegraph.
The news comes just weeks after hundreds of celebrity nude images were leaked online through 4chan, following a hack of Apple’s iCloud in an event dubbed “The Fappening.”
Jennifer Lawrence, the most high-profile celebrity whose intimate photos were illegally released on the internet, this week told Vanity Fair: “It’s not a scandal. It is a sex crime.”
“The law needs to be changed, and we need to change. That’s why these websites are responsible. Just the fact that somebody can be sexually exploited and violated, and the first thought that crosses somebody’s mind is to make a profit from it. It’s so beyond me. I just can’t imagine being that detached from humanity. I can’t imagine being that thoughtless and careless and so empty inside.”
The Oscar-winning actress said she certainly didn’t give anyone permission to look at her body and condemns everyone who even looked at the controversial photos.