The UAE's telecommunications regulator has warned users against the new update by SnapChat for its photo messaging feature called the Snap Map.
In comments published by state news agency WAM, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said the risks of automatically providing a map of the users’ location without their knowledge "may lead to unaccounted consequences and breaches that harm the privacy of individuals as well as other negative consequences of automatic detection of users’ locations at the time of using the application".
The TRA said the new update allows the release of the geographical location of Snapchat users and exposes it to all users worldwide, not just to their friends.
"To avoid this, you need to make a simple change to your app settings, which people may overlook," the TRA said. "A user who wants to be protected should modify the App setting by clicking the ‘Next’ button on the screen, then clicking on the ghost mode ‘me only’, and then clicking ‘Next’. This way, any circulated Snap will not show the user’s location on the interactive map."
In February, the company behind Snapchat opened its first Middle East office in Dubai to target regional markets.
Snap Inc took space in Dubai Internet City with the office headed by general manager Hussein Freijeh, who was previously with Yahoo-Maktoob, according to local reports.
Snap has expanded to the region to primarily work with advertisers and local partners in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Snapchat, which was first launched in 2011 as Picaboo, currently has over 150 million daily active users worldwide, who create over 2.5 million ‘snaps’ per day.
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