Count us out...
Back in 2007 we were all desperate to live like the characters in Gossip Girl and stalk our friends and the boys we fancied from our phones on the infamous GG ‘spotted map’.
Well just seven years later, due to a creepy new Snapchat update, it looks like that’s finally possible, but no one’s very happy about it – and for good reason.
Snap Maps is a new tool on Snapchat, available in the app’s most recent update. While it sounds harmless, it allows you to stalk people across the globe, and even more, actually see what they’re doing.
TV presenter Nadia Sawalha was so shocked by the news that she posted a video to her official Facebook page yesterday, talking through the update with her daughter to raise awareness among parents.
‘If your child uses Snapchat you MUST watch this. They’ve introduced a new feature Snap Maps and it’s truly frightening what it does,’ the 52-year-old posted to her followers.
‘Snapchat is a social media where you can share with your friends (or anyone you let have you on Snapchat) what you’re doing in the day,’ Nadia’s fourteen-year-old daughter Maddy said to the camera as her mum looked increasingly shocked as the video went on. ‘They have just updated it and it’s called Snap Maps and it’s also called Stalk Your Friends.’
‘Luckily we’re on ghost mode so other people can’t see us – only we can see ourselves but we can still stalk everyone else’, she explained.
Maddy then proceeded to demonstrate how if she zoomed out of her camera on the app, she was taken to a map of the world where she could see where all of her Snapchat friends were. When she zoomed in however, it got a whole lot scarier, with her able to see the exact location of friends and what they were doing, whether they were in a car, listening to music, sleeping or sitting down. She could even tell which school they all went to.
‘I didn’t know about it,’ she continued. ‘Snapchat automatically updated me and I wasn’t aware that it was on, with people seeing what I was doing. Make sure that you’re on ghost mode because it’s really dangerous.’
The video has since gone viral, being seen by over 20 million people and even prompting Snapchat to issue a statement.
‘The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works,’ read the statement.
It continued: ‘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.’
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If you’ll excuse us, we’re off to turn on our ghost settings.