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Little Snapchat is growing up

Originally Snapchat was a way to send photos or videos lasting 10 seconds, updating your friends with small moments in time. Whether you’re sending it to a specific person or adding it to your 24-hour story, it was limited. Recently Snapchat has released an update that is more than just a reformatted app. The new feature brings Snapchat to a new level. Later upgrades allowed you to add photo filters, paintbrush effects and text. Now there is an update that will change they way you use Snapchat forever.

New Feature: Hello

The sub-feature Hello allows you to chat live via video while in the Chat screen. You can access this feature by continuously pressing down the blue camera button on the right of your screen. The colour of the camera will alternate between yellow (offline) and blue (online), depending on whether the other person is online. During your broadcast you are able to change the direction your screen is facing.

New Feature: Money Transfers

In a 2014 partnership with Square, Snapcash was born. This new feature allows those aged 18-plus to send money to their friends at any moment. Currently this feature is only available to US residents with a debit card. To use this feature you enter your debit card information, swipe into the chat that you wish to send the money to and type the dollar sign followed by the amount. The transaction ends with the press of a green button. It is currently unknown when or if this feature will be available to Canadians.

New Feature: Discover

An unexpected feature, Snapchat Discover is a way to navigate stories created by different “editorial teams.” The grid includes CNN, Cosmo, Daily Mail, the Food Network, People and Snapchat’s own Snap Channel. Every 24 hours the stories are refreshed to a new set similar to the My Story feature. Discover can be accessed by swiping to the right to bring up the options.

New Feature: Literally Can’t Even

This new venture is an original series accessible through Snap Channel in Discover. This venture is co-created and written by Steven Spielberg’s daughter Sasha Spielberg and John Goldwyn’s daughter Emily Goldwyn. Premiering in January, each episode runs up to five minutes and portrays “comedic versions” of the two women traipsing through Los Angeles. Every Saturday a new episode is released and is available for 24 hours. While most of the features above make the app more dynamic, there are serious issues that the money transfer feature brings. While the feature is meant for the exchange of money for goods, there are some services that can take advantage of the new feature. A red flag arises with nude photos and videos being sent in exchange for money. Additionally, there are issues people are having with the ability to abuse the app by using the payment to access illegal activities such as child pornography. Although the app maintains the feature is meant for users 18-plus, kids in the digital age are easily able to get around that barrier. It will be interesting to see how Snapchat will handle how the new feature is utilized.

Tania Boyko

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