So far, 2014 is not looking so great for Snapchat.
First, the company experienced a huge breach on New Year's Eve, which resulted in a total of 4.6 million user names and passwords being leaked. And now Snapchat has been hit with a big wave of spam, which came over this past weekend, forcing the company to apologize to its users.
"We’ve heard some complaints over the weekend about an increase in Snap Spam on our service. We want to apologize for any unwanted Snaps and let you know our team is working on resolving the issue," Snapchat wrote.
If that apology seems a little odd to you, it might be because the company noticeably did not initially apologize to its users following the New Year's Eve hacking. In fact it took the company a full nine days to finally say that it was sorry.
Users were obviously not happy that their information was leaked by a company whose entire mission is centered around control and privacy. And I suspect that they were even less happy when Snapchat did not seem contrite enough. So getting out in front of the problem, and making amends quickly, shows some awareness, and a little more wisdom, on Snapchat's part.
Now, you would be forgiven to suspect that, perhaps, there is a connection between these two incidents, but Snapchat denies that this is the case.
"As far as we know, this is unrelated to the Find Friends issue we experienced over the holidays," the company wrote. "While we expect to minimize spam, it is the consequence of a quickly growing service."
To prevent spam in the future, Snapchat suggests that its users adjust your settings to determine who can send them Snaps, and recommends setting it to “Only My Friends."
These are two big issues that Snapchat has to confront, and they could both prove extremey costly if they are not dealt with quickly. Security breaches and spam could easily turn people off, and lead them to try to find another service that they believe is actually secure.
And it's not like Snapchat does not know that spam has been a problem for a long time. In fact, the company has apologized before for users being hit with spam, specifically in April of last year.
"Spam is a problem on many services with large audiences. We know spammers totally suck and we’re working on a long term solution to prevent spam from entering your feed," Snapchat wrote at the time, suggesting the same solution to its users back then: putting the setting on “Only My Friends."
Obviously this is becoming a long term issue for the company, and it needs to find a better way to deal with it then simply putting it on users to change their settings.
Seriously, Snapchat, get it together!
(Image source: http://androidcommunity.com)