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Snapchat to pay $100K settlement to state

The online messaging service Snapchat will pay Maryland $100,000 to settle allegations that the company falsely claimed that images sent over its system would be deleted permanently after they were viewed.

The company denied the allegations. According to a statement on Snapchat's blog, the agreement "concluded with Snapchat admitting no violation of any federal, state or local law."

The settlement also says the company must take steps to stop users under 13 from using the service, through which Snapchat says users can privately message photos and videos that expire after a time limit set by the sender.

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler's office argued that Snapchat did not make clear that the people who receive images could save them — possibly through screenshots — then share them with others. The state also claimed some users' phone numbers were revealed without their knowledge.

Gansler said "people have a false sense of security" when using the app because of the assurances of privacy.

Maryland's deal requires Snapchat to make users aware their information could be released, get permission before taking information and do more to keep children under 13 off the app. Some parents had complained that their children were using it to send inappropriate pictures.

The agreement is separate from a settlement the company made recently with the Federal Trade Commission.

Snapchat also denied wrongdoing in that case, which resulted in the company agreeing to implement a privacy program, making records of its communication with users available for five years and reporting compliance with the agreement for 20 years.

A previous version of this article stated that there had been a lawsuit. In fact, the state of Maryland and SnapChat had reached a settlement before a lawsuit could be filed. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

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