In order for users to hide their location on Snapchat, and specifically on the Snap Map, they simply need to turn on Snapchat's Ghost Mode in the settings. Location sharing grants applications with the ability to provide services to users like navigation in Google Maps, automatic location tagging for pictures, targeted advertisements, and more. While these location features are appealing to many, the problem arises when a user has little or no control over how their location is being used. Most users do not look through privacy settings and, while using Snapchat, a user’s location is shared constantly with every friend on the application.
On Snapchat, taking control over your location data is quick and easy. First, click on the Bitmoji profile picture at the top left of the screen. Then click on the gear icon at the top right. Scroll down and click on 'See My Location' to open up Location settings for Snapchat. Finally, the user can decide on what level of location privacy is desired. Enabling Ghost Mode will hide a user's location entirely from the Snap Map, including from friends. Ghost Mode can be enabled for 3 hours, 24 hours, or 'Until Turned Off' by the user, giving them some control over how long or short they want to hide their location.
Friend Location Sharing Settings
Some users may only want to share their location on Snapchat with specific friends. This is easily done by choosing from the three options in the location settings: 'My Friends,' 'My Friends, Except,' and 'Only These Friends.' Clicking on 'My Friends' will share a user's location on Snap Map with only their Snapchat friends and no one else. The 'My Friends, Except' option will share a user's location with every friend other than the people selected. Finally, 'Only These Friends' will share the user's location with only specific friends selected in the menu. Clicking on the bottom two options will pull up a menu to select which friends to exclude or include in the user's location sharing.
Snapchat previously had another location-based feature called Ghost Trails for its Snapchat+ subscribers, which allowed paying users to view their friends’ location history from the past 24 hours. The feature applied to users who enabled location services in the app. However, Snapchat discontinued Ghost Trails in 2023, replacing it with a feature called Live Location that’s available to all users, not just those who pay for the subscription plan. Live Location is an opt-in feature, and users can set their preferences to align with their comfortability using the above steps. As always, users should proceed with caution when it comes to location sharing, as this type of data can easily be misused.
Overall, everyone should be more aware of the information shared with social media platforms, especially when that information is location data. Even though location data can be a great resource for features like GPS navigation and location tagging, it can also be negative when that data is shared publicly with other users on the application. It's important for a user to know what data they are sharing with others on any platform, and to weigh the risks associated with different levels of sharing. Sometimes sharing location information can be fun and a unique way of interacting with friends, but it can also cause problems for some users in different situations.