Snapchat's latest update gave users the ability to send self-deleting SMS messages and videos to their friends. Lauded by tech blogs as brilliant, the update became undeniably popular almost instantaneously.
In 16 years of teaching I can't think of anything that has ever disrupted my classroom more than today's @snapchat update.
— Tracie Schroeder (@bravesearth) May 1, 2014
But the update has come with an unexpected cost that has nothing to do with Snapchat's added functionality. Those who want to use Snapchat's filters to add a little color boost to their photos will now have to turn on the app's Location Services to do so.
Snapchat's previous version split the filters into two categories: the location-based Smart Filters, which required location data to share information like temperature, speed or time of day; or the Visual Filters, which affect saturation and color, like an Instagram filter. Users could opt to turn on one category of filter over the other (or both) if they wanted, meaning those users who were concerned about sharing their location data could still use the Visual Filters.
The new Snapchat offers no such option. All filters are lumped together in one On-Off toggle option, which requires your Location Services to be turned on before you can use them, as shown in the picture below:
To use any of Snapchat's filters, users must first allow the app to view their location data.
A Snapchat spokesperson did assure the Daily Dot that the use of Location Services data is just for the fun filters, saying, "We rely on location services to provide useful filters, such as speed and weather. We don't keep locational data, and we don't associate it with any usernames.”
But those who remember the New Year's Eve data leak, in which an anonymous website revealed 4.2 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers, might be feeling a bit uneasy.
The question that remains is why Snapchat decided to bundle the filters in the first place. It's understandable why such data would be needed to provide accurate speed, temperature or time; but to just put a sepia tone on an ugly selfie, users shouldn't have to provide more data than necessary.
Those of you concerned about location data should just stick to filterless photos from now on.