Snapchat is social sharing app where friends can share videos with each other. We have another post on Snapchat on carefulparents.com which explains how the app operates. This post is to help explain their new map function which presents an entirely new privacy concern for parents.
The new Snap Map app allows the users to instantly share their location with all their friends. The idea is to make your friends even more a part of what you are doing and also gives users an idea of what is going on around them in case they want to join.
The problem is that when you allow this function to be active, it may end up sharing your location with all your “friends” EVERY TIME you open the app. Which you definitely do not want your kids doing.
The instructions for using the app appear to be quite vague, according to users, and let’s be honest, how often are your kids actually going to even follow the directions and ensure that the privacy of their location is not shared every time they open the app?
TheVerge.com has a good write up on this new function to show a good example of the creepiness of this new function…
“When I first opened Snap Map, I saw the Bitmoji for one of my friends in a residential area. I presumed this was her home, and was able to zoom in close enough to estimate where she lived on that particular block. Then I called her. “This is a weird question,” I said, “but do you live at the intersection of X and Y? More particularly, one of these addresses?” I rattled off three house numbers on the street closest to where her Bitmoji appeared on Snap Map. One of them was correct. I’ve never been to her house.
Turned out, she didn’t know she had Snap Map enabled, and didn’t know it was showing her location every time she opened the app. When she updated Snap and went through the Snap Map introduction, she believed Snap was giving the option to geotag her Snaps for Our Story, as shown in the promotional video. Instead, she had inadvertently broadcast where she lived to every one of her Snap contacts.
She was understandably freaked out. “That’s so creepy!” she said. “I don’t know why anyone would use that. I understand if you’re at an event and checking in, but I wouldn’t want people to see where I am at all times.”
Because Snap Map shows exactly where you are every time you open the app, there are a number of dangerous scenarios that could take place without a user even posting a Snap publicly. What if you’re at home alone, at night, and open the app to view Snaps posted by friends? What if you’re walking by yourself and get a ping that a friend sent you a Snap message, so you read it? What if you’re traveling and want to take a pic with a location-specific filter to post later on another platform? In all of these vulnerable situations, if you have Snap Map enabled, your location is immediately broadcast to some, or all of the people in your Snapchat friends list.”