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New Snapchat feature is causing safety concerns

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 23:30:03-04

A new feature on Snapchat is causing some concern over safety. The new Snap Maps is a mapping feature that can track your location 24/7 and other Snapchat friends can see your location on the map.

The new Snap Map feature comes with the latest upgrade for the app and opens when you pinch the screen to zoom out and you can see your exact location along with all of your friends.

“That is a little sketchy,” said parent Peggy Root, “I’ think it is almost into a stalking mode.”

Snapchat did say in a statement to that the location-sharing is off by default, but Omaha Police are still worried about the dangers that come with the map.

“Privacy on social media is huge, you can have it be as open to the public as possible and there are huge risks to that,” said OPD Crime Prevention Specialist Vanessa Urbach.

She said it goes back to basic stranger danger mentality, there is always the risk of a predator using the app and the department has been warning parents of the possible dangers.

“We wanted to stay ahead of the game and get that out,” said Urbach.

There is a way to stay hidden in the app, through the settings feature you can go into ‘ghost mode’ and keep your location hidden.

“I don't think we always need to know where everyone is all the time, so I say we should not have it,” said Root.
Urbach encourages parents and users to double check their app and if they don't want to be located to go into ghost mode.

Full statement from Snapchat:

“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. 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.”