Snapchat, the image messaging and multimedia mobile app, introduced a new feature on Wednesday, promoted as a “new way to explore the world”.
Snap Map allows users to see exactly where their friends are in real-time.
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However, publicly posting images on a searchable map has raised safety concerns among parents.
Users can search for places including schools to view videos and pictures posted by children inside.
Locating “friends” on a map also means that users can determine where people live or spend the majority of their day if a specific location appears regularly.
There are widespread fears that Snap Map could encourage stalking and other unwanted pursuits.
Snapchat just invented the perfect way for stalkers and abusers to track and find their victims #SnapMap
— Em? (@CrayCray_Qirl) 22 June 2017
Another Twitter user said Snap Map was “100 percent unsafe.”
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— Cam (@camkennedy_) 21 June 2017
Snap, the company behind Snapchat, told the BBC that location sharing was an “opt-in feature” and that “accurate location information was necessary to allow friends to use the service to meet.”
“You decide if you want to share your location with friends or simply keep it to yourself with Ghost Mode,” Snapchat said in a statement issued to Verdict.
Only users who have chosen to share their location can also be seen on the map by those they have added as “friends”.
However, users are able to add people they have never met to their friends list.
St Peter’s Academy, an Anglican secondary school in Stoke-on-Trent warned that the location-sharing feature lets people “locate exactly where you are, which building you are in and exact whereabouts within the building,” the BBC reported.
The update is “dangerous” according to one parent, while another said she could not figure out how to disable the new feature.