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Snapchat Updates App, Apologizes

2:00 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
Snapchat logo (AP)
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Scott Martin, USA TODAY

SAN FRANCISCO -- Snapchat on Thursday made changes to its app to address privacy concerns.

The Venice Beach-based service will now allow people to opt out of linking a phone number with their username. The option is available in the app's settings.

Snapchat enables people to send disappearing photo and video messages.

"Our team continues to make improvements to the Snapchat service to prevent future attempts to abuse our API. We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience and support," said a note on Snapchat's website.

Snapchat's app had left an opening for hackers to obtain a reported 4.6 million user names and phone numbers, posted to an online database.

The startup said in a blog post last month vulnerabilities had been reported to it by a security group. The weakness was discovered in its Find Friends feature, which allows people to upload contact lists to Snapchat, including phone numbers.

Snapchat said it had implemented safeguards making an exploit "more difficult to do."

The service update was released on iOS and Android versions. It will also also require new members to verify their phone number before using the Find Friends feature.

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