Warning over Snapchat’s new feature reaches 21m people

SocialPlus media manager Emma Crowe with Nexus Horizon MD Paul Sykes and their Facebook post which reached 21 million people. Picture by Tim Richardson.
SocialPlus media manager Emma Crowe with Nexus Horizon MD Paul Sykes and their Facebook post which reached 21 million people. Picture by Tim Richardson.

A North Tyneside firm’s warning over changes to Snapchat has gone viral – reaching 21million people.

Benton-based SocialPlus, which promotes safe in-house Wi-Fi product Horizon to businesses, alerted the online community last week that Snapchat’s latest update has a tracker which lets people see the location of their friends.

The new function allows users to see the area, town, street and even house in the street where their friends are, so they can meet up without the need to contact each other.

But some parents’ groups are concerned this could pose a potential risk to youngsters, leaving them and their location exposed to predators.

And SocialPlus’s posting on Facebook showing how to disable the function by going into ‘ghost mode’ was immediately seized upon by the online community and shared by millions of people worldwide.

Emma Crowe, SocialPlus’s media manager, told the News Guardian: “The response was unbelievable.

“It started going mad from the start and in three hours my mobile phone was flattened by the number of notifications.

“They didn’t stop for three days and you could see the posting being shared across America, and then Australia and then back across into Europe, Germany in particular.

“Initially we kept coming back expecting interest to have died down but then it went past a million and then two million and kept on going!”

At the latest count, the Facebook post had been shared more than 176,000 times with over 30,000 comments, 11,000 likes and total views in excess of 21 million.

Snapchat has stressed that the location feature is ‘opt-in’, which means that location sharing is switched off by default but can be turned on by the user.

They say location sharing only works with people added to your friends list and you can set the feature for a group of friends or everyone.

But enabling ‘ghost mode’ means the user will not share their location and that is what Emma and Unite have been highlighting.

Paul Sykes, MD of Nexus, which installs Horizon Wi-Fi, said: “A big part of Horizon is the focus on keeping businesses safe with their in-house Wi-Fi so it was natural Emma would want to put out an alert on how parents might want to be aware of this latest Snapchat feature.

“But the phenomenal response shows a number of things – like how massive social media is these days and how big an issue internet security is.

“When it comes to new technology, it’s so important to make sure you have the proper safeguards and that goes for parents and children, as well as businesses.”

Anyone who wants more information on Horizon Wi-Fi or the company’s social media management packages can call 0191 466 1050 or 0845 388 3371 or go to www.nexustsl.com