Despite how things may seem, Snapchat hasn’t learned your birthday or birthplace on its own — you likely told it yourself. The app’s exact knowledge of the exact time, date, and location of a user’s birth has been an issue of some concern for users on Twitter and TikTok over the last few days, but it’s due to Snapchat’s Astrological Profile feature and not some nefarious new skill the app has gained as it’s soared in popularity over the last year.
You can view your “Astrological Birthday” in the settings section of Snapchat, and if you weren’t aware you had already given the app all of that information, it would be a fairly alarming discovery. Checking baby photos will not reveal that the Snapchat Hot Dog has been with you since birth, however.
Snapchat tells The Verge that its Astrological Profile feature is the cause:
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.
Snapchat launched Astrological Profiles in November 2020 as a way for users to share and compare horoscopes on their stories and check their relative compatibility with friends. You already shared your birthday with Snapchat when you made a profile; the new astrological features just took it a step further to ask for the time and location of your birth.
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 birthdate 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.
Chalk this confusion up more to Snapchat having a lot of (admittedly fun) features that are easy to forget about, and not the fact that, technically, based on when Snapchat was originally launched as Picaboo, it’s a Cancer. It’s a total Cancer move otherwise.