Snapchat map update raises fears of stalking



A NEW Snapchat update that shares your exact location with publicly displayed images on a searchable map is raising fears of stalking.

The app launched the new feature, Snap Map, in Australia yesterday to allow users to share their location with other Snapchatters on a map, using video clips and photos.

However, some warn the opt-in feature is a way for predators to track young victims.

According to Hootsuite, 60 per cent of users are under 25 and nearly 25 per cent have not graduated from high school.

“Introducing Snap Map. See what’s happening around the world and find your friends,” Team Snapchat sent to users in the app.

“You can share your location with friends or stay off the map with Ghost Mode. Just pinch your fingers on the camera screen to open the Map.”

Users took to Twitter to express their concerns, particularly for parents, describing the map as “stalkerish”, “creepy” and “scary stuff for children”.

“Scary stuff for children who use Snapchat, displaying real-time location,” Ellis tweeted.

Michy posted: “Honestly, the idea of Snap Map is kind of creepy and stalkerish.”

The location-sharing feature pinpoints the exact destination of the user and incorporates “actionmojis” — a personalised character that appears on the map when users share their locations.

“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,” a Snapchat spokesperson said.

“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.

“It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

Snapchat urges Snapchatters, parents and educators to check out its Parents Guide, and Safety Centre, which was developed with safety experts to foster open dialogue and offer helpful tips.

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