Law Enforcement Warn Against New Snapchat Update: Snap Map

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- The social media app Snapchat is popular among teenagers and young adults, but law enforcement officials say the app’s latest update is raising some safety concerns. It allows users to see your location, even if you’re not using the app.

“It’s definitely a safety concern,” says Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Detective Derek Kuchenreuther.

Kuchenreuther works on the internet crimes against children task force. He says the new update to Snapchat called ‘Snap Map’ is alarming.

Here’s how the app works: once you post something on ‘our story’ everyone on the popular photo messaging app can see that post, including those around the world. He says it can be dangerous for anyone to know your location, especially if the users are kids or teenagers.

“If they have location services turned on for Snapchat, they will be able to see where those pictures were taken. Quite frankly, you would be able to see where that individual is real time,” says Kuchenreuther.

He says the app works like GPS, tracking one’s moves and if you leave the app running on your phone or device; others will still know your location, even if you’re not using it at the time.

“To kill that app, you just double-click on the home button, kill it, and you should be good. It should not be tracking you anymore,” says Kuchenreuther.

‘Snap Map’ also allows users to decide who can see their stories by selecting my friends, or select friends. Officials say the best mode to select is Ghost Mode.

“Little guy here has a ghost on his face; that’s because I’m in Ghost Mode. So now, nobody can really see my location,” says Kuchenreuther.

Another way a user can hide their location is through their settings on their phone. Under location, select never.

“Now you would have to go back through the steps of allowing snapchat to use your location, before you can even use the map,” says Kuchenreuther.

Officials advise parents to stay up-to-date on the latest social media apps to protect their children. The company says: “The snapchat app is constantly evolving and adding new features, but its privacy principles remain unchanged”.

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