Recently, the big social media companies have been accused of trying to obtain private information of users through various means. This involves everyone, from Google and Amazon to all the other Social Media sites. There are some who believe that the 21st century has made the sense of privacy completely obsolete in the presence of all the Technology we use at present. Every Tech gadget we use today- our smartphones, laptops, smart watches, fitness bands and other internet enabled devices collect some amount of information about us, and it’s still debated whether so much data and information collected from individuals could be misused in the future.

Adding an increasing amount of tension to this debate is Snapchat’s latest feature called Snap Maps. This feature lets the users view the Snaps related to various events, celebrations or festivals across the world. To view the Snaps from any particular area of interest, a user can go to the Our Story screen and see all snaps submitted from the area via the Our Story feature, a user can also choose to contribute to the collection if he/she wishes to. Other than that, a user can also share his location with a selected number of friends and let his/her friends know where they are and what they are doing through the use of Bitmojis.

The major concern here has been the misunderstanding that now a person can know the location of anyone even if they are not on the friend list of the stalker. To clear the doubts, this is not the case. The location of the user can only be viewed by friends in the following conditions:

1- If the user has Location Services switched On.

2- If the user willingly chooses to share his/her location to friends, or selected list of friends.

3- If the person forgets to enable “Ghost Mode”, using which the location is not shared with anyone including friends.

While the Snaps posted on Our Story feature might be seen by others, even that is done only if the user himself / herself chooses to contribute to Our Story. So for those who were tensed about the new feature. All they need to know is that sharing their location is just an option, and nobody is forced to have their location shared. If you don’t want to use this feature, then you can have Location Sharing turned off on your Smartphone, or use the Ghost mode location sharing feature from the SnapChat app. If you want your friends to see what you’re up to, but don’t want your brother/sister or Boss to know that you’re hanging out, then you can create a selected list of friends to whom the location will be shared, excluding everyone not selected.

This feature is great to use if you understand its purpose, and it’s in fact just another way to socialize with those you know and love in a better way. It won’t cause your parents to know that you’ve been bunking classes, or you’re Girlfriend to know that you’ve been cheating on her unless of course, you forget to turn off Location Sharing.

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