Rand Paul Burnishes Youth Cred, Joins Snapchat

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WASHINGTON D.C. (CNN) —

Coming to a mobile device near you: a disappearing Rand Paul selfie.

The Republican senator from Kentucky and possible 2016 presidential candidate on Wednesday joined Snapchat, the photo sharing app that allows users to send pictures and video to each other that disappears shortly after being viewed.

In his first Snap – a video sent Wednesday afternoon – Paul said, “Hey guys, thanks for following me on Snapchat. I look forward to seeing you real soon.”

In the ever changing world of apps and technology, Snapchat is currently the it product. Launched in 2011, the photo and video sharing app has seen a boom in popularity. At first used by primarily young adults looking for a way to send photos that would quickly disappear into the ether, the app is now being used as promotional tools by companies like the New York Jets, Mashable and Acura.

In November 2013, Snapchat reported over 400 million photos were being shared per day through the app, which is more than Facebook and Instagram combined.

And with that booming popularly, Snapchat has become valuable. According to some technology blogs and publications, Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion in 2013 and Google counteroffered at $4 billion. Neither technology company has confirmed those figures.

Paul has long prided himself on his social media following. He has over 1.6 million Facebook friends, sizable for most lawmakers, and he has nearly 400,000 Twitter followers.

“I joined @Snapchat,” Paul posted on Facebook. “For daily updates & behind-the-scenes footage follow: senatorrandpaul on the photo sharing app. I’m sending my first snap tonight.”

In an interview with Now This is News Politics, Paul said he joined Snapchat because he wanted “to communicate with people and not leave a trace for” the National Security Agency, a government spying agency Paul has long railed against.

This story was first reported by Politico.

While Snapchat founded itself on the idea that images would be gone forever after they were viewed, some high profile hacks into the app has left some users with questions.

Earlier this month, hackers appear to have posted account info for 4.6 million users of app, making usernames and at least partial phone numbers available for download. The hack was intended to urge Snapchat to tighten its security measures. Other groups of hackers have said that despite Snapchat’s premise, hacking into the app is possible.

In a blog post earlier this year, Snapchat appeared to minimize the potential damage from such a hack, claiming that it would require a “huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code,” to match usernames to numbers.

“Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse,” the post read. “Happy Snapping!”

CNN’s Doug Gross contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire
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