Something to learn from Snapchat’s new Snap Map feature

Trycolyn Pikirayi Avatar

Image credit: Pixabay

Snapchat is not so much of a big deal in Zim as it is in other countries. I mean what do I expect since it’s not ‘bundled up’ by any of our local MNOs because data is expensive in Zimbabwe though surprisingly, according to the 1st Quarter 2017 POTRAZ report; internet and data usage has increased by 4.7% from the last Quarter (2016).  And from my quick scan through the report, it only makes sense to attribute that growth to NetOne’s OneFusion.

I already feel myself straying so I’ll go back to what was initially writing about: Snapchat.

Snapchat introduced a new feature some weeks back which we found interesting, the Snap Map feature. Snap map allows your Snapchat friends to see your exact location. And here we were, thinking it’s only WhatsApp that’s introducing features that are specifically for those insecure boyfriends and girlfriends.

As expected, people have mixed feelings concerning the feature. With some tech analysts commending the innovation and even expressing how it has the potential to give Snapchat a greater competitive advantage over other social media platforms such as Facebook. While the general population feels it compromises both their privacy and their security.

The major problem was that a lot of Snapchatters were unaware that the feature had been updated unto their Snapchat and automatically turned on hence for most, finding out on their own was quite freaky.

I hope (for my own peace of mind) it was just a simple miscalculation on the part of Snapchat though I can’t help but think it was yet another quest for data that most social networks have. And the scary part is we actually give them access to this information by just clicking ‘agree’ or ‘allow’ whether out of ignorance or pure negligence.

I get it, some of these requests for permission are quite subtle or unclear. It can come as a simple request to access your location, then next thing bam it’s being broadcasted to all your ‘friends or followers’ like in the case of Snapchat.

Anyway, it’s not all bad when it comes to Snapchat’s ‘Snap Mapping’ since it can be deactivated. You can simply do this by turning on the ‘ghost mode’ option (which I think is a pretty cool name for its function by the way).

So yes, this should be a wakeup call for all of us. We should start paying a little more attention to the detail of the updates we make or the things we ‘allow’ or ‘agree’ to when using anything internet related – well maybe not only on the internet but basically when it comes to everything else in life that needs our consent.