Snapchat was launched in 2011, and has now been adopted by many Smartphone users.   The unique feature of Snapchat is that it allows users to send pictures messages and videos which are automatically erased a few seconds after being viewed by the recipient. Furthermore, apps such as Facebook or Twitter, allow information posted to be available for potentially anyone to see, whereas Snapchat allows users to select from a list exactly who sees the photos, videos or information they send.  These features allow the Snapchat user a degree of privacy, which is not necessarily available in other social media apps and because of these privacy elements, Snapchat may be used for rather more intimate information sharing. 

Julie Tim / Shutterstock
Source: Julie Tim / Shutterstock

If Snapchat can be used for sending more selective and private information, then this leads us to question the effect it may have on already established romantic relationships.  For example, if someone is sending or receiving pictures or information to or from a potential rival, this may provoke jealousy in their partner.  Indeed, a study of adult users of Snapchat by Roesner, Gill,& Kohno  (2014) discovered that it was primarily used for sending pictures (including selfies).  However, 1.3% of people reported using it for sexting and 14.2% reported using it for sexting occasionally.

A recent survey by Utz, Muscanell & Khalid (2015) presented participants with potentially jealousy provoking scenarios which might occur on Facebook and Snapchat, and asked participants how likely they were to become jealous.

The researchers found that Snapchat elicited more jealousy for the following:

  • your partner sends pictures/makes wall posts of him/herself that are sexually provocative?
  • your partner sends pictures/makes wall posts of him/herself with a previous romantic or sexual partner?
  • your partner added a previous romantic or sexual partner to his or her friends list?
  • your partner private messaged an unknown member of the opposite sex?
  • your partner sends pictures/makes wall posts of him/herself with unknown members of the opposite sex?
  • your partner sends pictures/makes wall posts of him/herself with an arm around a member of the opposite sex?
  • your partner has added an unknown member of the opposite sex?

Facebook elicited more jealousy for just this one scenario.

  • your partner has received a snap/wall post from an unknown member of the opposite sex?

The survey also examined participants’ motives for using Snapchat and Facebook and the type of content that users of Snapchat are likely to share.  It was found that participants in this study reported using Snapchat more for flirting and finding new romantic connections, whereas they reported using Facebook more for keeping in touch with friends.

Overall then the study seems to illustrate that use of Snapchat provoked potentially more jealousy than Facebook, and if the reported uses of Snapchat mentioned above are correct then this is unsurprising. 


Roesner F, Gill .BT,& Kohno T. (2014) Sex, lies, or kittens? Investigating the use of Snapchat's self-destructing messages. Proceedings of the Financial Cryptography and Data Security Conference, Christ Church, Barbados, West Indies.

Utz, S. Muscanell, N., & Khalid C. (2015)  Snapchat Elicits More Jealousy than Facebook: A Comparison of Snapchat and Facebook Use  Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, & Social Networking 18, (3),  141-146.

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