Suitably named Snap Map, the controversial new feature uses data such as your location, speed of travel and phone usage to work out where you are and what you are doing and then shares this information on an interactive map from within the Snapchat app.
Parents of young children, as well as police forces, schools and children's charities, have expressed their concerns online - including mum of two and loose woman Nadia Sawalha, who expressed her views on a Facebook video, which has racked up over 25 million views since being published.
Although Snapchat’s Terms of Service states that under 13’s aren’t allowed to create an account or use the app, it’s not exactly impossible for them to do so. When signing up, there is still currently no age verification barrier.
In response to the backlash, Snapchat said in a statement, “The safety of our community is very important to us and we want to make sure that all Snapchatters, parents and educators have accurate information about how the Snap Map works.
“We encourage all parents and teachers to visit our Safety Centre developed with safety experts to be better informed about Snapchat, and keep it safe and fun.
“Snap also encourages users to visit our Privacy Centre to find details on what information Snapchat collects, and who has access to this information. This has been updated with information about Maps.”
The map, which is scarily accurate and detailed, appears when users pinch the camera screen within the app. As well as your friends' locations, it displays snaps submitted to Snapchat’s ‘our story’ – this includes pictures and videos of sporting events, celebrations, breaking news and more.
Unaware to some, your location is only visible on Snap Maps if you opt in. You should be prompted to choose who you want to share your location with when you first open the snap maps feature - you can choose to hide your location using Ghost Mode by selecting ‘only me’. You can also find this option in your settings.
Snapchats allows its users to report anything inappropriate on Snap Maps, click here to find out how.