By now, we all have at least heard about the new app update from Snapchat. In this latest update, users will now be able to track the location of their friends. The announcement they sent to users, they play it off as a harmless way to see what fun things your friends are doing, so you can join them. For example, if you see some friends are nearby at a concert and it hasn’t started yet, you head on over and join them! Unfortunately, this can most likely do more harm than good. In fact, it can be dangerous.
This gives your exact location to all of your followers, which means literally anyone can see where you are. If you zoom in on someone, you can even get a satellite view of their location. So if someone is at their house, you can actually see their house and what street they live on.
This is wrong for several reasons. It is a total invasion of privacy to track your followers without their consent. Unless you have permission, you have no reason to track someone’s every move. It is also extremely dangerous for users, especially minors and women. While many users strictly only add their friends, we all have some Snapchat contacts that we hardly know or talk to. One of them can easily see our location and target us by showing up at our houses. Old ex’s and friends can see where we are and decide they want some revenge. While these are extreme scenarios, we constantly see these incidents in headlines around the world.
Some may argue that other social media apps, like Instagram, can also give your location. The difference is that Snapchat shows your location in real time and gives users an eerie view of exactly where that person is. Instagram only shows where you were when you took the photo you posted.
However, there is a ghost mode available for users to turn off their location. Users can hit the button to make sure no one can track their location. Yet, those who turn on ghost mode can still track others and see their locations. All it takes is for someone to forget they left it on and suddenly they find themselves targeted by a random person in their snap contacts.
We need to end the mentality that these things will not happen to us. On average, over 90,000 people are missing in the USA at any time. A Snapchat user can easily join this long list of unfortunate people by having their location turned on. While this may not have been Snapchat’s intent, it still can be very dangerous.
Make sure you are aware when you have it turned on and you are cautious. You never know who can be watching.