Nowadays, nearly everyone with a smart phone has a Snapchat. The social media forum has taken the app market by storm and is being used by parents and children alike. While the dog filter and face swap tool are seemingly innocent updates Snapchat has added to it’s arsenal, we can’t help but wonder whether Snapchat is putting its users in danger.

During the summer of 2017, Snapchat released “Snap Map”, a feature where users could see where their friends were all across the globe. As a result of this update, many people turned the feature off to conserve their privacy, but thousands are still vulnerable to possible cyber or physical attacks.

Recently, there are have been several cases in which Snapchat videos are resurfacing long after the ten second clip disappears. From the British Airlines flight attendant to the MICDS student from St. Louis, racist clips are being spread across the world and investigated. Snapchat provides a platform on which people believe it’s okay to spread hate because the picture or video will soon disappear. This is not the case.

While the resurfacing of videos has been beneficial in identifying possible racists, it doesn’t soften the blow. Under no circumstance should such degrading and hateful videos even be made or published. The “Snapchat culture” is a dangerous one and it’s teaching its users that once things supposedly disappear, we are no longer responsible for them. The same applies to Instagram stories and Facebook Live, both features that allow users to publish a photo or video for a limited amount of time.

The resurfacing, downloading, and sharing of such content does raise a question regarding the privacy policy of time based social media features. Many people are wondering how these videos are being downloaded and spread so quickly; however, instead of only focusing on the media applications, we, as a society, should be addressing the fact people believe it’s okay to create such material.

When such hateful comments are published, they are seen by thousands of people and can have a significant impact on someone’s confidence and self-image. To help decrease the amount of inappropriate posts online, don’t be afraid to use the ‘report’ button and / or contact the publishing site directly asking the material to be taken down. In a world where posts can go viral in seconds, we must do all we can to protect each other from the inside.

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