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Over the last week, a handful of viral posts on Twitter and TikTok have raised concerns over how Snapchat might “know when you were born.” As it turns out, chances are that you provided the application with this information, likely as part of its popular Astrological Profile feature.
The viral posts on Twitter and TikTok allege that Snapchat might have learned when and where you were born without you giving it any information beyond your birthday. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not the case. In a statement to the Verge, Snapchat explained that users input this data as part of the app’s “Astrological Profile” capability.
The birth date and time information shown above was actually inputted by the users themselves in order to obtain more specific information, stemming from our latest astrological profiles feature. The feature requires exact birth date and time from each person in order to calculate their exact star chart reading.
We take the privacy of personally identifiable information very seriously at Snap, and this more granular birth date and time information is used only for this astrological profile feature.
As the Verge explains, Snapchat launched its support for Astrological Profiles in November of last year, allowing users to “share a compare horoscopes on their stories and check their relatively compatibility with friends.” The information shown in the Profile page of the Snapchat app is private and not viewable to your friends.
A side effect of letting Snapchat play astrologer is that the app now has the full details of your birthday and birthplace stored in the “Birthday” section of settings as “My Astrological Birthday.” Snapchat doesn’t share any birth information unless you want it to (at most, that would be your birth date with friends), and you can delete that specific birth time and location information at any time with a tap. None of these individual pieces of information are particularly damaging on their own, but this is a good illustration of how apps can collect information about you over time, even if it’s never meant to be shared or necessarily used by the app at all.
Whether or not you should hand over your birth time and location is a discussion for another time, and ultimately a decision you need to make. Nonetheless, Snapchat wants you to know that nothing nefarious is going on here, despite what some users on TikTok and Twitter might allege.