Muscat: Parents of children and teens who use Snapchat have been warned over a new update which pinpoints user locations.
The latest update enables users to activate a featured called ‘Ghost Mode,’ which allows them to hide their location from their friends and others around them.
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While it does provide Snapchatters with privacy, it could also be used against them, as it gives stalkers the ability to cover up their own location while tailing others, making users unaware of who might be harassing them.
“I have spoken about this and advised people several times, on my Snapchat,” said Salim Al Rahbi, an Omani emcee, who is quite popular among young residents on social media.
“It shows your exact location on the map, whether you are driving, or even sleeping, so I told people looking to avoid others to enable ghost mode themselves.”
“I also asked them to disable their locations on their phones when it wasn’t necessary,” added Al Rahbi. “If you think there are people who will stalk you, enable the ghost mode yourself because then no one can see you.”
Al Rahbi’s warnings were echoed by Ahmed Al Balushi, a fashion designer who has about 3,500 people tune into his Snapchat broadcasts every day.
“Whoever doesn’t know about Ghost Mode needs to be aware of it,” said Al Balushi.
“This is against our culture because Snapchat wants us to be connected at all times, but sometimes, we all want our privacy, especially for people who have large audiences.
“If you see someone abusing the Ghost Mode, tell them about the legal threats and don’t hesitate to go to court or the legal authorities because they will be able to find them out and this could mean they have a black mark on their records,” he added.
The Times of Oman also received clarification on this from Dr. Ali Al Shidhani, director of research at The Research Council.
“We have invested a lot of time and effort into these apps and they are now part of our lives so we just can’t give them up.”
“When you enable your location, you gain access to so many features, such as traffic information and the easiest routes to take via Google Maps, and revealing your location is part of the bigger picture, where you could be harmed if someone knew your financial information, family history etc,” added Al Shidhani. “Therefore, if someone else is activating Ghost Mode, you could activate it as well so no one can track you.”