Snapchat Maps raises security concerns

The Snapchat ephemeral messaging app raised security concerns when it added a mapping feature that lets users see where other users are in real-time.

While the feature is not enabled by default, when it is, anyone connected to the user will be able to see on a map where they are.

The company says the feature was developed so that users could view: "Snaps of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news, and more from all across the world."

Once the user enables the feature, every picture they take at a certain place or event and submitted to ‘Our Story' will be embedded on a live map for others to see.

Our Story is a collection of Snaps submitted from different users all over the world and collected and categorised by Snapchat staff to "capture a place or event from different points-of-view".

The company does say there are a few location options users can choose from, so that their real-time location is not displayed to everyone.

When the map within the app is opened for the first time, users will be prompted to choose who to share their location with. There is a ghost mode, all friends, and select friends mode.

Ghost mode lets users view the map but makes their location invisible to anyone else on the map. The other two options either makes the user's location visible to all their contacts on Snapchat or a select few.

In the UK, the police issued a warning to parents to make sure their children's account was in ghost mode.

The company says the map is only updated with users' locations when they are using the app and it will not be updated in the background.

Some Twitter users have come out in favour of the feature and the good things it can be used for. Bendoorn1 tweeted: "I use Snapchat Maps before I go to bed to make sure all my friends made it home safely every night."

On the other side of the fence, Twitter user James O Mahony said: "The new Snapchat Maps feature is needlessly stalkerish! Why would anyone need a real-time update on where everyone is?"

Michel ColaciComment