Snapchat is set to roll out a what some are calling a “buddy system” feature that will let users share their location with a friend for a time.
The safety feature comes as young people return to campuses, traveling, dating and perhaps going back to work in the office, according to Snapchat. The feature is not unlike Apple’s Find My app which allows users to share their phone’s location in real time with friends for varying, pre-determined amounts of time (from 15 minutes, 1 hour or even 8 hours). Snapchat found a partner in It’s On Us which is a nonprofit created in 2014 whose goal was to combat sexual assault on campuses.
Snapchat, since 2017, has let users share their location with Snap Map, however a user’s location only updates when the app is open. Snapchat claimed that 250 million people use Snap Map each month. In May 2021 Snapchat had 500 million monthly active users. An internal survey revealed that 78% of users had no problem using Snap Map to share their location with friends as a safe way to connect with other people.
Like Snap Map, the new safety feature is not turned on by default but can easily be found by users. Smartly, Snapchat has limited with whom and how long users can share their instant location to reduce the risk of the feature being used for stalking.