Snapchat has been fighting tooth and nail to stay relevant while social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and even Whatsapp replicate features that once made it unique. Snapchat’s latest feature has certainly got people talking, but not necessarily for the right reasons.
Snap Maps, allows your followers to find you by your location. According to Snapchat, the addition is meant to help users see what’s happening, find their friends, and get inspired to go on adventures.
The concept could be particularly useful to explore locations or tourist destinations, for example. Imagine being able to see unedited videos from people in London while you’re in South Africa. You could also experience events as they happen, like a Nicki Minaj concert or see real-time content from users at an event on the news.
Since the announcement on 21 June 2017, the internet has been peppered with articles about the new feature. Some media sources have hyped up the addition and commented on the possibilities, especially for marketers. Although there are certainly pros to the feature, articles have largely been negative and focused on concerns about compromised privacy.
While the idea is cool in theory, the reality is that your followers can see where you are at all times – even when not using Snapchat. This is pretty creepy for anyone, but parents are particularly concerned about the safety of their children, and rightly so.
In a recent video, YouTuber Joey Salads did a social experiment where he added a young girl he’d never met to Snapchat. See what happened for yourself:
Although you can select whether or not to share your location and with whom, the reality is that children and teenagers are not as social media savvy as they think they are. Anyone is at risk though – a stranger could quite easily learn your routine by tracking your movements and target you when you least expect it.
After being live for less than two weeks, Snapchat has removed the promotional video from YouTube, which suggests they’ve second guessed the update. This is, of course, just speculation but the addition could potentially lead to more trouble than it’s worth at what is an incredibly critical time for Snap Inc.
In my opinion, we can’t keep shifting the blame to someone else. At some stage, we need to step up and take responsibility. Parents need to continueously educate their children about the dangers of social media, and we need to be more discerning with who we allow to see our information as well as be more aware and protective of the information we share on the internet. Technology and social media are constantly evolving and the onus is on us to keep up.
Question: What are your thoughts? Should Snapchat remove this feature or is the onus on the user to be selective with who they share their information with?
Resources and Additional Reading
- Snap Maps: For the marketer or stalker? – Mumbrella
- Snapchat goes local: Snap Maps sparks privacy fears – Net Imperative
- Snapchat “Snap Maps” Could Be Dangerous to Your Children – The Dallas New Era
- The latest tech-related parental concern? Snap Maps – CNN
- Snapchat’s new Snap Map feature raises privacy concerns – IOL