We love Snapchat, but one development that definitely snuck up on us was the Snap Map. After accidentally enabling it one day, we took a look: Not only could you tell we were at home, but you could tell which part of the house we were in. Creepy.
What we uncovered: If you’re not a robot, a lawyer, or someone with unlimited time on your hands, the website’s 8,000-word-long terms and conditions page can be incredibly daunting. But chin up: You can skim it in just a few minutes. By doing so, we learned that anyone in our network, plus Snapchat advertisers, can locate us through Snap Map. Why is that so unnerving? Any random person you added by mistake (or because you met them once) can cyberstalk you. Plus, it’s not exactly great for your mental health if you see your friends hanging out without you.
How to lock it down: Luckily, “Saying yes to a platform doesn’t mean saying yes to every single one of its capabilities,” Janell Burley Hofmann, an online safety expert, reminds us. “If you can opt in, you can opt out.” Maybe don’t keep geolocation on when you’re not using the map. Or if you want Snap Map totally off, just toggle the location access button in the app’s settings from While using the app to Never. (Bonus: By shutting off geolocation on this and other apps, you won’t zap your battery nearly as fast.)