Snapchat is opening up its Snap Map feature to users outside the social media service for the first time.
From Monday, anyone will be able to view the map and the public content displayed within it via a new website.
The Snap Map was first launched last year as a way to see location-based content on the app – public content posted by users, as well as Bitmoji of friends who have the app open and their current location.
However, it was met with mixed reviews, with some users raising concerns over privacy because of the feature’s location-tracking abilities.
Now that access to the map is being expanded, Snapchat has outlined how user privacy will be protected. The new public map will not show user locations, and will only show content intentionally posted by users as public content through the app’s Our Story feature.
The new public Snap Map will mimic the in-app version in that it will show heat spots in areas where lots of content has been posted, and the company said it hopes the map can be used to give a new perspective on live events.
The company also said it believed the public availability of the map, which can be directly embedded into websites, could become a valuable resource for media organisations.
A spokesman for Snapchat said that only snaps chosen to be publicly shared by users would appear on the map, and that all content undergoes moderation to ensure it does not violate the firm’s community guidelines before it is featured.
When the Snap Map first launched in 2017, some were concerned by the app showing user locations whenever they had the app open on their phone, though a Ghost Mode does enable users to turn off their visibility on the map.
According to the company’s own figures, more than 10 million people use Snapchat in the UK every day, and the firm says it believes it is the world’s most used camera.
Snapchat says more than 3.5 billion snaps are created every day.