A recent Snapchat update shook users of the social media app when it started sharing their exact locations.
Snapchat’s buzz about the update said, “Snapchatters on iOS and Android globally will have a new way to see what their friends are up to, what’s happening around the world, and get inspired to go on an adventure. Introducing Snap Map.”
The company said it was designed so people could leave their local story and view “Our Story,” a feature that connects users globally.
Though Snapchat was clear in sharing information about this update and its mission, many concerned Snapchatters took to social media to express their concerns and share a few laughs.
Snapchat then released a statement regarding the safety of the update.
“The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works,” said a Snapchat representative.
“With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time.”
The Snapchat spokesperson also mentioned that it is not possible to share a person’s location with someone who isn’t already a Snapchat friend. majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends or (at least) familiar faces.
The update does open a dialogue about location-sharing settings on mobile devices _ including parents with young teens who use Snapchat (You must be 13 or older to access Snapchat.)
All smartphones include location sharing in some way. Find My iPhone and Find My Friends are the most popular, but there is a plethora of apps that allow a user to track or be tracked.
Chicago-based IT systems engineer CJ Kreuz shared his advice on how to protect yourself from location sharing and the new update.
“My best advice is to educate yourself on what you are allowing your phone to do,” Kreuz said. “Location sharing is a thing now, and it’s only going to get bigger. People don’t take the time to look into settings or see what they are agreeing to in user terms and conditions. Once you accept it, you allow Snap Maps to access your location when it opens. You have the option to ghost, so if you are concerned, you should.”