'Snapchat' ups Instagram as social media's latest photo sharing app

Snapchat's photos disappear in seconds


Many Instagram fans are now using social media's latest photo-sharing app that has a special twist.

The appeal of the Snapchat photo-sharing app is that the photos you snap, and then share with your friends, disappear from the app in just seconds.

Snapchat requires you to keep your finger on the photo the entire time you're looking at it.

"That's kind of like the appeal because the fun of it is to send embarrassing pictures," one teen told ABC News. "Texting is made for words, but now that there's Snapchat now we can communicate through pictures."

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With that belief that there's no permanent record of the photo, the Snapchat community has shared more than a billion snaps since the app was introduced in July 2012.

Worldwide, more than 20 million different, sometimes compromising or embarrassing moments -- and even explicit -- photos are shared every day.

"I've gotten one, but I just asked the person, 'What are you doing? This is gross.' It's just unnecessary. We wouldn't think to send it like that," teenager Rachel Berglass said.

Not only can you take pictures on Snapchat, you can also share video, sending it to your friends the same way. In theory, it disappears in just seconds.

Yet, it turns out that with Snapchat, and with Poke -- a similar app through Facebook -- the videos don't actually vanish as advertised. As first reported by Buzzfeed , anyone can secretly save your Snapchat communications.

"People who are using this and think it's private are kidding themselves," Mat Honan, senior editor of Wired magazine, told ABC News. "You can take screen shots, you can save them on a drive. There are all kinds of ways to save these images. Everyone has this fear that everything online is permanent so that's the point of this, but having the ability to take a screen shot really defeats the whole purpose of Snapchat."

Calls placed to Snapchat by ABC News for comment were not returned.

If you want something to be private, don't share it. Get the picture?