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23rd Jun 2017

Snapchat’s latest update is causing security concerns

Paul Moore

Snap Map is the latest update that Snapchat have rolled out and it has already raised security concerns.

By using the function, publicly posted images are then searchable via the interactive map. For example, people could search for places such as schools and see any videos and pictures that have been shared in that location.

Members who have opted to share their location can also be seen on the map by those they’ve added as ‘friends’.

The app has over 55 million daily users in Europe – 10 million of which are in the UK.

As stated in their company blog, Snapchat believe that : “they’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! It’s easy to get started — just pinch to zoom out and view the Map! You decide if you want to share your location with friends, or simply keep it to yourself with Ghost Mode. If your friends are sharing their location with you, their Actionmoji will appear on the Map. Actionmojis only update when you open Snapchat.”

Snapchat has since provided the following statement:

“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.”

On background:

We encourage all Snapchatters, parents and educators to check out our Parents Guide, and our Safety Centre, which was developed with safety experts to foster open dialogue and offer helpful tips. Here are some important tips to keep in mind that we invite the media, parents and all interested stakeholders to help us share.

  • Location-sharing on the Map is turned off by default — this is called Ghost Mode. Who a user decides to share their location with is completely optional.
  • When entering the Map for the first time, Snapchatters can select Ghost Mode, Select Friends or All Snapchat Friends. This setting can be updated at any time right from the Settings gear in the Map.
  • If a Snapchatter chooses to share their location with all of their friends on Snapchat, we will remind them of that choice periodically to make sure they are still comfortable with this.
  • Unlike many other platforms, Snapchat doesn’t have public profiles that that list things like interests, biographical information, age, etc, and the way people add friends on Snapchat encourages them to add people they already know.
  • Snapchat isn’t a broadcast platform, and doesn’t give users the option to share their location with a full contact list of people they may not know. Snapchatters who do decide to share their location on the Map will only be able to see mutual friends.
  • The privacy setting for who can contact a Snapchatter with Snaps, Chats, Calls, etc is set by default to “My Friends” only. As such, by default, Snapchatters do not receive unwanted messages from strangers they haven’t added, and must individually find and approve each and every friend first before they communicate with them. Additional information about our commitment to privacy can be found in our Privacy Center.
  • We also allow Snapchatters to be able to choose who can view their Story or to block users on an individual basis.
  • To learn more about how Snapchatters add or find friends, see here.