Column: Keeping your location private a snap with Snap Map

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Selena Quintanilla | The Daily Wildcat

Snapchat's recently installed Snap Map feature has solicited controversial reactions from users. The update allows users to see the exact locations of other people on the app, as well as locations of local and regional events using geocoding.

Snapchat’s latest update, Snap Map, introduced snappers to a new feature: a map that allows users to see the exact location of their friends and family. This addition immediately received backlash from the public regarding its safety and purpose.

As soon as this feature came out, there was a heightened sense of concern. People said that it’s a gateway for pedophiles and rapists to find their next target. Despite the worries surrounding Snap Map, I’m here to tell you it’s not as scary as people are making it sound.

Snapchat users have two options to keep their locations private.

A snapper can set their location to “ghost mode,” which prevents other users from seeing where you’re located. I don’t believe you can really claim it’s unsafe when you are able to hide your location.

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Along with ghost mode, users can also choose the people who do get to see their location and block anyone they want to keep out. This way, close friends can see where each other are in case of emergencies, and maybe make sure a friend made it home safe.

Everyone is acting like the concept behind Snap Map is a new thing. Other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have options for users to include a tag with their current location. Who knows, maybe Instagram will copy Snap Map since they followed its lead in the past with the stories feature.

Snapchat has already had geolocation filters for certain locations available. Most people are constantly letting their friends and family know where they are, whether it be at the zoo or at the mall. There are many ways in which we constantly share our surroundings, whether we know it or not.

If people aren’t sure they want a certain someone to see their location, then why do they have them as a “friend” on social media? I understand there are those people who you want to follow because you like something about them, but if you feel that they’re shady, then is engaging with their social media such a good thing?

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It’s all about being smart with social media. Have you seen the show Catfish? Don’t just add people you think are really attractive — you never really know who these strangers are. You don’t really want some random person you met online to see where you live, do you?

I know that safety is important, and Snap Map offers that. As college students, we should be smart enough to know who we can and can’t trust.

I’m a private person. When I saw the new Snapchat update, I made sure that I put my location setting to ghost mode. I tried the selective friend option, but I still prefer for my bitmoji to be private. The only time I let people “see” my location is through the geolocation filters.

The new Snap Map feature isn’t as dangerous as it seems. It has privacy settings that can make parents and users feel safe. Just be smart about it and make sure you set to the preferences you are comfortable with.


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