Snapchat has updated its Terms, which now allow the company to do what it likes with your picture messages. Should you be worried? (Snapchat says no.) Also see: How to update Snapchat & How to use new Snapchat

Snapchat's new Terms of Service afford the company the right to look at and, if it chooses, delete the picture messages you send through the service. It isn't required by law to do so, and it doesn't have to give a reason as to why.

“While we’re not required to do so, we may access, review, screen, and delete your content at any time and for any reason, including if we think your content violates these Terms. You alone though remain responsible for the content you create, post, store, or send through the Services,” read the updated Terms.

Also worrying is that “you grant Snapchat a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable license to host, store, use, display, reproduce, modify, adapt, edit, publish, create derivative works from, publicly perform, broadcast, distribute, syndicate, promote, exhibit, and publicly display that content in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”.

And Snapchat reserves the right to share your information with third-parties and affiliates. Also see: Best Snapchat tips & tricks

Snapchat privacy - should you be worried?

Snapchat users are understandably worried about the changes, but before we get away with ourselves it's worth keeping in mind that just because Snapchat has the right to do something it doesn't mean that it will act on that right - the updated T&Cs may be no more than a means to protect its as-yet-unknown future interests.

Snapchat is not alone in having these sort of terms in its user agreement either. As MarketWatch points out: "Instagram’s terms of service similarly grant the company a royalty-free license to use contents posted through the social network, though Instagram has never claimed to be a private or ephemeral messaging service. Facebook’s privacy policy also grants the company rights to a royalty-free, world-wide license to user’s content, but that only applies to content published under the Public Setting."

And clearly Snapchat isn't about to pick on one of your dodgy picture messages and publicly share it just to humiliate you. It's not like it wants to receive bad publicity.

Indeed, over the weekend, Snapchat has responsed to user privacy fears with the following statement: "The Snaps and Chats you send your friends remain as private today as they were before the update… Snapchat is not - and never has been - stockpiling your private Snaps or Chats. And because we continue to delete them from our servers as soon as they’re read, we could not - and do not - share them with advertisers or business partners.

"It’s true that our Terms of Service grant us a broad license to use the content you create - a license that’s common to services like ours. We need that license when it comes to, for example, Snaps submitted to Live Stories, where we have to be able to show those Stories around the world - and even replay them or syndicate them (something we’ve said we could do in previous versions of our Terms and Privacy Policy). But we tried to be clear that the Privacy Policy and your own privacy settings within the app could restrict the scope of that license so that your personal communications continue to remain truly personal."

If you're still worried, you could stop using Snapchat. But let's get real: you use Snapchat for a reason. So now use it with the knowledge that whatever you share may not be as private as you previously believed it to be. Be careful about what you share - if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to lose.

Read next: Facebook Messenger isn't evil and it isn't about to spy on you

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