Snapchat's new location feature raises privacy concerns for some - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Snapchat's new location feature raises privacy concerns for some parents

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Parents are being warned that an update to the popular app Snapchat could put your child in danger. 

"Snap Map" allows app users to see exactly where their friends are located, in real time, which is raising some concerns for parents. 

"That makes me very, very nervous as a parent," Samantha Spitz said. 

The feature is so exact it can pinpoint your location down to streets and buildings. That means it could show your teen's workplace, your child's school or even your home. 

"It's right around six feet, plus or minus six feet, of where you are right now," LMPD Det. Dan Jackman said. 

Parents said that's too close for comfort. 

"There's no reason for it," Stephanie Jenkins said. "There's absolutely zero reason."

When the app is in camera mode, pinch the screen to view the map. If you click the top right icon, Snapchat will ask if you want to share your location with all of your friends or just a few friends. Police say this could be dangerous because you don't always know who your kids are "friends" with online. 

"Nowadays, the bad guys are out there doing the same exact thing, and you never know who you're talking to," Jackman said. 

To go completely off the grid, users can turn on "ghost mode." Once activated, your location will be hidden from your friends using the app, but police say you should take it one step further by turning off the location services for all of your apps. 

"Snapchat's not the first app that does this," Jackman said. "There are other apps that will track you and provide other users, or friends or buddies out there of your location." 

WDRB News reached out to Snapchat asking about the safety and security concerns some parents have. Here's the company's response: 

“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. 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.” 

In addition, the company provided WDRB News with some resources to pass along to concerned parents including a Parents Guide and a link to the Safety Center

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