On Tuesday, Snapchat rolled out a new feature: Snap Maps. This feature is basically a stalker's paradise and if you're not careful everyone who follows you will be able to see your exact location at all times.
The feature has good intentions of showing people what is happening around them with specialized Snap Stories at events and hot-spots but they take it too far by showing you where your friends are even when they haven't posted anything.
Most people allow Snapchat to access their location so they can use the fun GeoFilters and tag their location when they post a picture. So Snapchat already has permission to see a lot of people's locations but now they have made it easy for all users to see.
There are private accounts and public accounts and this update will affect both but it could have more consequences for the public accounts. In the age of public influencers, Snapchat users can allow people to view their stories without following them back. So if you know someone's username you can immediately see their posts if they are public. With this new feature those random followers would be privy to the exact location of the poster at all times. This could easily lead to unwanted advances and possible dangerous situations for Snapchat users.
According to Buzzfeed a company spokesperson stated in an email:
"Nothing happens without your consent," they said. "You share what you want to share. You need to choose to add friends, you need to opt in to make yourself visible on Snap Map, you need to select the friends you have first approved so they can see you on Snap Map, you need to opt in to post to Our Story and choose to make your Snaps visible."
Private users can deny and allow people to follow them but in the past they could choose who to send specific messages to or who could see their story. This "upgrade" eliminates that choice of privacy and gives people access to exact locations.
Luckily, there is a feature where you can choose to go into "Ghost Mode" which supposedly hides your location from follower's maps.
Going forward the smart move for Snapchat would be to keep the "Hot Spot" and event stories but they need to eliminate the user map because it will cause them more trouble than it is worth.