By Maggie Hobbs
KU students, staff and parents are debating whether or not the popular new location feature on Snapchat could pose privacy and safety concerns.
The feature, which is called Snapmap, allows people to see where other users are simply by zooming out of the app. It opens up a new page, which contains an individual’s bitmoji, including their exact location and the exact time they were there. If the user does not have their privacy settings set up correctly, anyone from anywhere around the world can see the information.
“I think this is an extreme invasion of privacy,” KU sophomore Tanner Hochler said.
Hochler’s boyfriend, Eric Geyer, agreed. “I would say the new feature is doing more bad than good, especially with people being obsessive like if a boy stalks a girl for example,” Geyer said. “It’s just unsafe.”
While some people think this feature is unsafe and invasive, others argue that it could also be used for positive reasons.
“I think it’s unsafe and safe at the same time,” said KU junior Rebecca Bucci. “It is unsafe because random people could see where you are, and safe because, if for example someone gets lost, their friends can easily find where they are. This is especially good for college students.”
Some parents of KU students are also concerned about Snapmap.
“Snapmap seems to be very unsafe,” said Guy Matthews, who is the father of KU senior Abbey Matthews. “I wouldn’t want random people being able to see where my daughter is that easily whenever they wanted.”
Ben Gilroy, father of KU junior Terry Gilroy, said he had similar concerns.
“I think it’s a cool feature if they have their privacy settings set so only their friends and followers could see it,” Ben Gilroy said. “But a lot of people probably don’t realize their settings are not set correctly, and that could lead to a scary outcome.”
University officials also expressed concerns about Snapmap.
KU Public Safety directed questions to Josh Leiboff, the assistant director of University Relations in the department of web content, who explained that because of this new feature, people need to be mindful of their personal posts and information they’re putting out there.
“I can see both positive and negative sides of this feature, but certain people may not use it for good reasons,” said Leiboff.