New Snapchat feature raises concern over safety and privacy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Snapchat feature raises concern over safety and privacy

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The popular application, Snapchat, allows its users to quickly share photos and videos with each other but a new feature has some people saying it has gone too far.

Snapchat recently unveiled "Snap Maps," a feature which lets users track their friends locations in real time down to the street and building they're in. Users can click into the map and see their friends that are nearby or all over the country and world.

The capabilities of the new feature are concerning for some.

"A tracking feature makes it that much more disconcerting right because now it's not just interactions online. Now somebody could track down your kids or something," Greg Johnson, Iowa City, said.

To access the map, a user has to first be in picture mode then they must pinch the screen inwards to pull it up. To see someone's location, you have to first be mutual friends. In the settings, a user can make themselves visible to all of their friends or limit it down to certain people.

"I think it's pretty cool. Its a way to see where your friends are and see where and what they're doing," Karley Whitby, Iowa City, said.

Otherwise, the feature can be turned off all together using "Ghost Mode", which allows them to still see the locations of others but hide their own.

"I think it's kind of creepy having people know where you are all of the time like I already know iPhones can track you but this makes it a little bit more real so, not a fan," Will Olson, Iowa City, said.

A person's location isn't shared until they first enter the map feature and give it permission to. While people said they can see how the map feature could be convenient in keeping track of friends of family, they said they're opting out of it.

"If they want to know where I am, I'll just let them know and text them. They don't need to know through Snapchat," Jim Burke, Iowa City, said.

Snapchat isn't the only social media site to do this. Facebook previously rolled out its own version of friend tracking with "Nearby Friends."

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