As we and others have reported, Snapchat is now worth close to $1 billion, based on its latest round of funding, a valuation that baffles some and no doubt irritates others. After all, it’s just an app for sharing photos and videos that are programmed to disappear after a certain amount of time. Why has that proven to be so interesting, to the point that the growth of Snapchat’s user base rivals that of Instagram in its early days? Maybe we should be asking instead why more of our social content doesn’t do the same thing.
Before anyone rushes to point out that Snapchat pictures and videos don’t really disappear after their brief lifespan is up, it’s true that there are ways to save the content if you really want to: Not only can you take a screenshot of the image with your phone with a little bit of work (something that used to trigger an alert on iPhones but may no longer do so with the latest version of Apple’s iOS, as my colleague Erica Ogg points out), but you can also in some cases recover deleted photos and videos from a device.