This new feature has been created by Snapchat to mitigate risks, but with any location sharing app or platform there is always potential for abuse.
Location sharing should only be used with trusted friends and family members. However, it is possible that a young person could be coerced or pressured into enabling the feature with someone they don’t know in person. For example, when setting up a meeting with someone for the first time that they’ve met online or on a dating app.
Even with someone they know in real life, there are still risks. Young People who are in unhealthy relationships or friendships could be forced to share their location as part of a controlling behaviour. This includes those who are victims of domestic abuse from parents, carers, or other adults in their life.
There is also the prospect of someone screenshotting, using a second device to capture location information, or sharing this information with others, without the user’s knowledge or consent. This could result in bullying, stalking, or loss of control of personal information. For example, if a user was attending a private or sensitive personal appointment such as a medical appointment, the location information could be used to bully, bribe, or belittle them.
There is also the potential for this to be used by more than one person through screenshotting and information sharing, for example if a young person is being bullied by a group or forced into doing things that they don’t want to do, including illegal activities.
There have been previous concerns regarding Snapchat’s original map sharing feature, Snap Map. In one reported case, a child sex abuser was convicted after using the tool to target and force young girls into sending child sexual abuse imagery.