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Snapchat’s new update might kill your private life

Snap Maps
Snap Maps

Snapchat launched its new map feature this week, which makes you and all your friends visible, wherever you are. It also shows with whom you all hang out with.

In case you missed it, Snapchat just updated a new feature that is either great fun or about to ruin your private life. It’s called Snap Maps and is basically a TomTom for tracking down all your friends at any time of the day. Using the GPS of a phone and putting the avatar (bitmoji) on a map, you can follow their movements around campus, around town and to places you didn’t even know they were going.

Everybody tracking everybody
It could be nice tracking down your best friends to see where they hang out. It’s as if you’re there with them. But what if they went to do something without telling you, and you’re home looking at their bitmoji’s having fun? And suppose you all of a sudden see you best friend’s virtual alter ego is spending the night at your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s house? Moreover, besides you tracking other people, parents, ex-girlfriends, or potential stalkers can also follow you.

Mind your settings
Fortunately Snapchat has thought of that as well. So in the settings you can choose the friends you want to be visible to, or make your bitmoji invisible altogether. You also have the option of going around in ‘ghost mode’: you are invisible to the outside world, but can see others. Still, parents in the UK and New Zealand apparently are being advised to completely disable Snap Maps on their children’s phones.

World trip
What can be great is that Snap Maps enables you to follow random people around the world and peek in on the everyday lives of strangers. Or as Buzzfeed describes it: ‘Snooping around to see what people in the Arctic circle were up to, then what teens in Saudi Arabia are doing, is transcendently heart-warming in an "I love humanity!!!!" kind of way.’ In the same manner you can introduce the world to your life. Show the rest of the globe our amazing city, our beautiful library and lovely campus. Yes, let’s make the swans world famous!