By now, the majority of us are aware of the latest Snapchat update. The newest update enables users to pinpoint the exact location where their friends are. It’s estimated that about 160 million people use Snapchat daily, this new update raises major privacy concerns.
Snapchat, an image messaging service, was created to allow users to send each other photos or short videos which are only available for a period of time before they become inaccessible. The update “Snap Maps“, allows users to track the location of their friends. It automatically updates when you open the app, showing the whereabouts of users on a map in real time. Regarding this new feature, Snap Inc said: “We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!”
Now, Snapchat plays this off as a harmless feature. For example, you can see if any of your friends are nearby so you can join them. However, this isn’t right for numerous reasons. It can’t be argued that it’s an invasion of privacy to release someone’s geographical location not only to their entire list of friends but also to Snapchat users’ around the world.
This update could lead to many dangerous encounters. I believe that unless you have someone’s consent, you shouldn’t be able to track their every move. People of all ages have been responding to the threat Snap Map poses, not only to children who aren’t aware of the dangers of location-sharing but also to teens. Since this particular feature turns on automatically when you open the app, as I mentioned above, it is especially menacing when you are alone at night and open the app to view a snap, or you’re just traveling and want to take a photo with a location filter.
By enabling ghost mode users can turn off their location, while still being able to track down other people’s location. Anyone can, however, easily forget to turn off this feature which could lead to dangerous situations.
While Snapchat’s intent may not have been malicious, we need to be cautious when we have our location turned on and be careful who our friends on Snapchat are.