Picture messaging app Snapchat can attribute its meteoric rise to the fact that messages sent self-destruct within 10 seconds of the recipient viewing them. That key feature has been especially popular with young folks who don’t want any lingering evidence of what they’ve sent (yes, nude photos and illegal acts). Snapchat’s shortcomings have been well documented – pornographic spam, available hacks and revelations that the pictures aren’t really deleted.
This week Privatext enters the fray. The new app, currently only available for iPhone but coming soon to Android, Windows and Blackberry, promises security beyond what Snapchat offers, and works on plain text messages as well as pictures. The company bills itself as “the only safe way to text.”
According to the company’s press release:
The new Privatext application enables consumers to automatically delete text and picture messages from their device, as well as the recipient’s device and Privatext messaging servers. It also sends and receives messages through a fast, secure server using the latest, state-of-the-art encryption.
- Messages are never stored on Privatext’s server. Snapchat retains messages on their servers for 30 days
- Anonymity if desired. Users are assigned a unique PIN and need not have their real name, user name or phone number visible
- Accounts are device-specific. If another user obtains your login info, they can not use it on another device
- Double authentication – users can elect to use two distinct passwords, one to log in and a second to view messages
- Dual password option allows users to keep business and personal messages separate
- Enterprise solutions are offered for companies looking for a truly secure messaging platform
There is nothing cool or sexy about Privatext as far as I can see (and no video), which may limit its appeal with teens. What is interesting to me, if the company’s claims are valid, is that Privatext has figured out how to do what Snapchat hasn’t – make disappearing photos actually disappear.
The shift from conversation to text and photo messaging has altered a fundamental construct of how people communicate. 20 years ago, after you said something to someone, immediately after those words were gone forever. With text or picture messaging, the message now is or can be kept forever. In many ways this is not a change for the better, and can have serious repercussions. Maybe Privatext changes that.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.