Abstract: Social media is now a widely accepted and important medium of evidence in court. Yet Snapchat, a new and popular image messaging app among the youngest generation of smartphone users threatens to upend the field of social media evidence. Snapchat is unique among social media platforms because it functions to avoid permanence. Such is the appeal to today’s teenagers: a normal “snap” (a picture or video captured through the app) can only be viewed for a maximum of ten seconds before it deletes. Users may also choose to upload a snap to their “Story,” which posts the picture or video for all their contacts to view multiple times within a twenty-four hour period. The deleting function unique to Snapchat presents inherent difficulty in saving images taken through the app. In fact, recipients of snaps are left with only one method of saving the images they see: the “screenshot.” A screenshot is a smartphone function not related to Snapchat which captures what the viewer sees on their phone screen at that moment and can be saved. While it has been these screenshots which have allowed Snapchat to enter the world of admissible evidence, it is now use of the app itself as evidence which have signaled courts’ acceptance of Snapchat and its greater value to justice in the near future.
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