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Snap Maps: A tap too far? by Bianca Matley

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Updating your mates on your stories, adding that all-too-familiar dog filter with the floppy tongue and or beautifying yourself with big eyes and a flower crown, sound familiar? It’s what Snapchat’s about right? And it’s all fun and games until, that is, Snapchat makes updates, unbeknownst to you and its other X million users.

The controversial new Snap Map allows you to see exactly where mutual friends are and what they’re doing; whether that’s the location of where they’re driving or sleeping, it’s an undoubtedly ‘stalky’ way to keep tabs on people in already ‘stalky’ social media culture. The new map was met with major scepticism especially from parental groups and advocates of child safety which led the US based company to issue the following statement addressing such concerns: “With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time.

“It’s also not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends.”

It has certainly caught the attention of the UK media even Nadia Sawalha of Loose Women stressed her worries of the safety of children on the show, after posting a video on her personal channels warning parents about the new update.

It’s possible to argue that these kinds of updates can heighten the paranoia that social media is adding to younger generations and allowing unknown users (people who might not be true friends) on the channel to follow you around if Location Services or ‘Ghost Mode’ aren’t switched on, and then there is a potential threat. However, some people have welcomed the update, coining it as ‘cool’ due to the use of heat maps and the ability to publicise your story wherever you are, as well as being able to avoid people you might not want to see and we all know that feeling!

Scouting the floor of Lucre HQ, it seems we rarely leave our location services on but if you do – who’s watching?

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