Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Security experts in the UAE recently alerted that Snapchat has a few safety and privacy concerns about which users in this region should be aware of.

Widely used by children and teenagers (8 to 19 years) in the UAE, experts believe that Snapchat’s new Snap Map feature can reveal users’ location if they opt-in for this feature. This feature shows where a user is at every time the user logs into Snapchat.

Two recent incidents will shock you enough to rethink how safe Snapchat is.

In April this year, hackers from India claimed that they have posted the personal details of 1.7 million Snapchat users on the Deep web after Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel allegedly called India a ‘poor country.

Recently in the UAE, the Snapchat account of the youngest member of the FNC was hacked and used to insult Qatari royals. The hacker posted to 32-year-old Saeed Al Remeithi’s 330,000 followers insulting pictures of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his mother, Sheikha Mouza Al Mesnad before ridiculing Qataris in general.

Apart from hacking, and Snapchat Maps, Snapchat users also need to be cautious that the, unlike popular belief, pictures they post totally safe because it’s automatically deleted. Anyone can simply take a screenshot of the picture you send, and save it.

This way, people with wrong intentions can use intimate pictures to harass or blackmail the user. Young users need to be particularly cautious of this fact because the very reason why they are active on Snapchat is the belief that it gives them full privacy.

While users don’t have control of their account being hacked, they can stay safe by following these rules:


  • Don’t add strangers to your friend list. Even though Snapchat recommends other users as possible friends, because they are mutual friends, avoid adding them to your friend list. Only add people you trust to your friend list, as Snapchat can be a very personal experience
  • Block strangers who try to contact you; you shouldn’t feel bad while blocking people in your contact list who send you unwanted or inappropriate snaps
  • Don’t send inappropriate snaps. Even though you trust the friend or friends who you’re snapping, you have to assume that anyone can see the snap as soon as it has been opened
  • Keep your location private. While it can be tempting to add a snap with a geofilter of your neighbourhood to a public story, it’s safer to use filters that don’t reveal your location. The same notion goes for snaps of addresses and license plates
  • Don’t give out personal information over Snapchat. Again, you clearly trust the friend to whom you’re sending the information if it’s personal. However, your snaps stop being private and become public as soon as you hit the send button, so anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with people outside of your contact list is best left for in-person conversation.