A few weeks back, Snapchat introduced its newest feature: Snap Maps. The app’s newest attribute allows you to share your current physical location with anyone that you’re already friends with on the app.
While Snap Maps seems like a great idea from a social standpoint (as demonstrated by the Snap Map introduction video), it clearly raises a variety of privacy issues that individuals have never had to deal with before.
In Snapchat’s feature announcement blog post, the company writes “We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to on an adventure!”
Unfortunately, one thing that Snapchat neglects to mention is that your exact location can be publicly broadcast to your Snapchat friends every time you open the app, if you aren’t careful. While the new feature is opt-in only, it’s not immediately apparent that you’re displaying your exact location every time you open the app.
Snap Maps: Children’s Privacy
In today’s world of connected toys and devices, many children are unaware of the dangers of sharing their location with strangers, or even people that they know personally. Given Snapchat’s attractiveness to youth culture, a number of children’s privacy advocacy groups have spoken out against the new feature. Childnet International, a group dedicated to working with others around the world to help make the internet a great and safe place for children issued the following tips in regards to the new feature:
Only share your location with people you know in person. Never share your location with strangers Don’t add contacts to Snapchat if you don’t know them in person Regularly review your settings and take an active decision about whether you want people to know your location. Remember you can switch this off at any time.