Though the Snapchat mobile app is designed to send messages that automatically self-destruct, some users have played with unauthorized services that save "Snaps," including nude photos.
Thousands of those saved photos may have been made public online this week, according to posts on the online forum 4Chan.
Whether the photos are authentic Snapchat messages or come from some other online trove remained in dispute among online commenters. Snapchat said it hasn't suffered a data breach, but instead pointed to users installing a companion app not approved by Snapchat as the culprit.
Photos and videos sent through Snapchat normally disappear after 10 seconds or less unless the recipient elects to save them, and the sender is notified when the save feature is activated.
Hack or not, the incident is a reminder to people to be wary of what they download. And Snapchat of course has the right to review anything sent through its service and owns a license to use it.