Is Snapchat’s new map feature a security risk?

Snap Maps allows users to track each other’s movements in real time.  Many child safety groups are cautioning young people against sharing their location and I would suggest the same.

 

Snap Maps launched last week, this feature plots users and their snaps onto a map so friends and other Snapchatters can see where they as well as what they are doing.

Snapchat 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!” in a blog announcing the update.

When a user first logs into the latest version of Snapchat and use the feature, users can select whether they want to broadcast their location or not.  At this point you can choose to make your location visible to friends, a select group of connections or nobody at all.  This is referred to as “Ghost Mode”

The offical introduction video below shows the positive side of the app.

 

 

Ghost mode for safety

By entering Ghost mode you deny your Snapchat friends the ability to locate you.  In my opinion this is a good decision.  This is also the advice from Childnet International (a child safety group).  This is a very specific feature which shows people who you may not know your exact geographical location.  This could be used for all kinds of malicious reasons and by malicious people.  As society becomes more comfortable with social media people (especially young people) will add all kinds of people who they may not actually know in reality.  I am sure nobody reading this post is comfortable shouting their location to a number of strangers and this same mentality should be applied to social media.

 

Parent’s need to sit down with kids and get them to understand what information they are sharing and who with.

Snapchat isn’t the first social media company to allow location tracking, Twitter and Facebook have long used this functionality and the same advice stands for these features.

 

Always be wary of what we share and whom with.

 

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