The feature connects the Snapchat app to the smartphone's GPS.
The feature connects the Snapchat app to the smartphone's GPS.

A new Snapchat feature that tracks the location of those using the app has police and children's advocacy groups concerned for the safety of younger users.

Called Snap Map, the feature connects the app to the smartphone's GPS. Whenever a user inputs their location in messages posted to “Our Story” the user's personal emoji appears on the map so it is visible to their Snapchat friends, Graham Cluley wrote for ESET. The privacy issue that has so many concerned is that the location monitor does not turn off as long as the Snapchat app is open, so your location is constantly updated.

The UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children told the Telegraph, “"It's worrying that Snapchat is allowing under 18s to broadcast their location on the app where it can potentially be accessed by everyone in their contact lists.”

Snapchat disagreed with these findings saying users must opt-in to sharing their location.

"With Snap Map, location-sharing is off by default for all users and is completely optional. Snapchatters can choose exactly who they want to share their location with, if at all, and can change that setting at any time. It's also not possible to share your location with someone who isn't already your friend on Snapchat, and the majority of interactions on Snapchat take place between close friends,” a Snapchat spokesperson told SC Media.