Social media service Snapchat has refuted claims that its recently updated terms of service (TOS) and privacy policy meant that the company would now own every photo and video sent through the app, and save them for its own use.

Both Spanchat’s TOS and privacy policy were updated on October 28, stating that it has 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" any content uploaded to the app, "in any form and in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)."

The wording of the update caused privacy concerns among some Snapchat users – a situation made worse by certain mainstream media outlets reporting the rumors as facts. This forced the company to release a blog post stating that photo messages “are automatically deleted from our servers once we detect that they have been viewed or have expired,” just as they were before the update. Snapchat says it does not stockpile pictures, and never has. Although, the privacy policy does say that the company cannot “guarantee” that messages and other user data will be deleted within a specific time.

Snapchat says it does need a “broad license to use the content you create.” It uses the example of photos submitted to live stories – its curated stream of user submitted snaps from various locations and events – saying: "We have to be able to show those Stories around the world - and even replay them or syndicate them."

The blog post also states that the TOS and privacy policy had been updated in order to make them easier to understand, clarify the rules around in-app purchases and to explain what user information will be available to others. It seems, however, that removing the technical jargon from these policies “so they’d read the way people actually talk” is what has caused the all the confusion.