In the world of social media Innovation is King. Or you’re only yesterday’s hottest thing. One thing we’re seeing for sure is updates galore!. New features are being rolled out literally weekly to keep users engaged.
Snapchat is never slow off the mark with new features. That’s why it’s still the #1 Platform in schools and colleges in Ireland. This latest one however does need to be highlighted to Parents, Educators and anyone who works with children.
So how do Snapcodes work?
Well you can now create your own Snapcode and embed links within them.
To clarify, everyone who uses Snapchat has their own unique Snapchat code which you can post and share around the web. Anyone who comes across your code just needs to take a ‘snap’ of it with their camera and it adds you as a ‘friend’.
Well it seems Snapchat has experimented some more with SnapCodes – QR Codes to the rest of us. They’ve just launched a new feature, currently only available for iOS (iPhone Users) and not yet rolled out for Android, but available in Beta for the select few. The new features allows Snappers the ability to create their own SnapCodes with added links to websites.
How to Create Snapchat Codes
Well, it’s a simple 3 step process.
1. You access your settings and then select ‘SnapCodes’
2. Click on create ‘SnapCode’
3. Enter the URL of the site you want to access or share and press ‘Create’
If you then want to add a profile pic to the SnapCode just select one from the website you’re creating the code for.
To unlock the URL within the SnapCode you must take a snap of the post to access it.
When testing the ‘create custom SnapCodes’ feature I found it was too easy to use a link which sends an unsuspecting receiver off to a website containing adult or inappropriate content. To be clear, it appears there is no blocking of any websites currently. This may be something Snapchat will look at – hopefully in the near future.
So the potential is that a Snapchat friend could create a snapcode with a link to pornography, graphic violence or inappropriate content and can share this link freely through Snapchat Snapcodes – all without leaving the comfort of the Snapverse. It may also pose potential risks for scammers as young users could be directed to phishing websites where private information could be given to criminals.
There was no warning in place or disclaimer stating that any of the websites you are about to visit may not be suitable or may have inappropriate content. It does show a short preview text of the website but the user may have already just clicked ‘open link’. Another thing we noticed was, that when you click on the link it wasn’t particularly easy to close out of a site you’ve just ended up on.
When Mashable questioned Snapchat representatives on this issue there was no comment. However, they were referred to ‘Google’s Safe Browsing Service’ which the app uses and claims it helps ‘warn Snapchatters about suspected phishing, malware, and other dangerous websites.’
Just as there are real dangers with clicking on links from emails, messages, and texts which you receive from trusted or un-trusted sources, it’s so important to be vigilant to the real dangers and risks of ending up on a website you never meant to go to.
So our advice is to keep the conversations going on new features and apps and in this case the risks of creating and clicking on random Snapchat Codes.
If you’d like more practical tips on how to protect yourself online and improve your Online Reputation grab a copy of my book..
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