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Snapchat Rolls Out New ‘Live Location’ Feature

 On Friday, Snapchat announced a new feature that lets people share their location in real time with specific friends for a certain time period. 

The company announced, “we are introducing a new safety feature for the Snap Map that will help Snapchatters look out for one another while they are on the go, whether they are on their way to meet up, or on their way home at night.”

Since 2017, the app has allowed people to share their location with its Snap Map, but the new “Live Location” option is different. 

According to 9 to 5 Mac, it is discussed as a means to share a user’s specific location with “trusted friends and family.” Snap Map renews a location only when the user has opened the app and it only reveals the approximate area where a person is. 

As the company explained, “This new tool will give Snapchatters the option to share their real-time location with a close friend even while their app is closed.”

Snapchat users can also only give their location to the friends they have on Snapchat instead of to a broader group of people using the app. They can use the feature for time periods of 15 minutes, one hour, or as long as eight hours. 

Snapchat also laid out the safety features it has incorporated, including: 

  • A fast and clear way to activate, so Snapchatters can share their real-time location in an instant if they ever feel unsafe.
  • Limited time sharing & notification-free pausing so Snapchatters can easily turn this off when they’ve reached their destination. Plus, this minimizes any undue pressure to constantly share. 
  • Required two-way friendship meaning that only those who have mutually added each other as friends on Snapchat can share their location, keeping in line with our existing Snap Map policies. 
  • A safety notice that pops up when Snapchatters use the feature for the first time, ensuring our community knows that this is meant to be used only with close friends and family.
  • Ultra clear design so Snapchatters always understand their setting selections and who can see their location.

It also described its safety features for the Snap Map, including the fact that location sharing’s default mode is off and only available for friends.

“Snapchatters can update their location sharing preferences at any time by tapping the settings gear at the top of the Snap Map. There, they can hand select which existing friends can see their location, or hide themselves completely with ‘Ghost Mode.’ Snapchatters who do decide to share their location on the Map will only be visible to those they have selected — we don’t give anyone the option to share their location publicly with people they have not proactively and mutually added as a friend,” the company noted.

“Snapchatters are taken through a tutorial when they use Snap Map for the first time. … Snapchatters who choose to share their location with their friends receive periodic reminders asking them to confirm that they are still comfortable with their settings and if they are not, they can easily switch off location sharing without prompting other users,” it added. In addition, only the material “proactively” given to the Snap Map shows up on it, and Snaps among friends are still private.

“For Snapchatters who maintain our default privacy setting, content shown on the Map is automatically anonymized, so anyone looking at the Map cannot see the name, contact information, or exact location of the person who shared. We also protect sensitive businesses and locations on the Map,” the company added.

The social media app rolled out the new feature as a piece of a partnership with “It’s On Us,” a nonprofit focused on fighting campus sexual assault. Beginning on Friday, a new PSA will be displayed in the app from the organization, “encouraging our community to look out for one another,” Snapchat noted.

“We have students who are academically sophomores, but socially and culturally freshmen coming to campus. When campuses reopened for the first time to in-person living and learning since March 2020 without strict COVID restrictions, we saw a surge of sexual assaults take place,” Tracey Vitchers, the executive director of It’s On Us, said on “Good Morning America.”

It’s On Us is also operating with online dating app Tinder to roll out what they describe as the first “online dating safety and sexual assault awareness peer to peer prevention program nationwide.”

According to Vitchers, ”This online dating safety peer to peer program is really critical because we found in conversations with students that traditional sexual assault prevention lessons that were being given by their school were not covering online dating safety, when that is really the future of how most young people are meeting and engaging with each other in a dating or other romantic way.”

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