Airtime, Sean Parker's new social video chatting service for Facebook, launched today with an event that totally unraveled into a complete fiasco. But what might rankle more than a rocky launch is the revelation Airtime will take “snapshots of users periodically to ensure site safety,” according to an Airtime spokesperson quoted in Forbes.

Business Insider dug around in Airtime's privacy page and pulled the following terms (before Airtime went on the fritz):

By using our Service, you are consenting to have your image and conversations recorded by Airtime. Airtime is taking snapshots of User Content may review User Content to maintain site safety and ensure a good user experience.

So Airtime will take your picture from time to time, but what about audio and video? In an email to the Huffington Post, an Airtime spokesperson said, "Airtime defines 'record' as a snapshot (not an audio or visual recording). By using the Airtime Service, you are consenting to have your image and textual conversations recorded by Airtime."

The reason they're taking these periodic pictures of Airtime users is that they want to avoid becoming another PenisRoulette, the alternate name for ChatRoulette, which became an internet sensation then devolved into an outlet for exhibitionists.

The Airtime terms state that "User Content" (which we assume includes these occasional snapshots) may also not be "owned" by Airtime:

Except for your User Content, the Service and all materials therein or transferred thereby, including, without limitation, software, images, text, graphics, illustrations, logos, patents, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, photographs, audio, videos, music, and User Content belonging to other Users (the “Airtime Content”), and all Intellectual Property Rights related thereto, are the exclusive property of Airtime and its licensors (including other Users who post User Content to the Service).

Regardless, Airtime does store these images...forever.

What do you think? Is there a better way for Airtime to police their users than secretly taking their pictures? And do you think this will hurt the startup's chances for success?

Check out Tweeple's reactions to Airtime's idea for keeping the site nudity-free by secretly taking user's snapshots, and their general take on the new service.

Amendment notice: This article was amended to include the quote from an Airtime Spokesperson to Huffington Post.

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