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If You Want Filters On Your Snapchats, You Have to Hand Over Your Location Data

Something is not quite right about the new Snapchat update. In order to use filters on your images, you now have to hand over your location data.

Something is not quite right about the new Snapchat update. In order to use filters on your images, you now have to hand over your location data.

In the newest release of the Snapchat app for both iOS and Android, the following​ messages will appear you try to turn filters to "On" while Location Services are off:

If you attempt to use a filter by swiping right on the Snap you have just taken, nothing will happen. You either allow Snapchat permission to access your location, or you don't get to use any of their filters. This sneaky permission comes directly from the My Weather Channel filter, which adds your local temperature to your Snap. However, none of the other filters are accessible without turning the location service on.

This is an all or nothing mentality that Snapchat has not implemented before. In the past, users could select to have "Smart Filters" or "Visual Filters". Smart Filters included the temperature app, which obviously requires the ability to know where you are, whereas Visual Filters did not:

Snapchat users who have noticed this are not pleased. Snapchat did reply to a tweet on the matter since the update was issued:

This new update seems to be going against the very concept of anonymity that Snapchat was built on. The new update forces location data to be shared for optimal user experience, created a very easy to screenshot messaging screen, and no longer allows the user to clear their feed automatically. Hopefully, Snapchat is using location services only for the filters, rather than planning to turn a profit on their users data.

We reached out to Snapchat for comment, and will update this story if and when we get a response.


This post previously appeared on The Wire.

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Polly Mosendz is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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