Facebook is hoping to win back some goodwill with an update to its Android app that improves users’ control over access to location data. The new location control settings will let users determine whether Facebook can snoop on their location when they are not using the app.
What was happening all along?
By default, Android had an all or nothing approach towards location settings, which means either you could keep your Location Services on or off. This allowed Facebook to be constantly informed about your location data if your location settings are on. This means until today, your precise location data was shared with Facebook even when you were not using the Android app.
To address user concerns about the extent to which Facebook’s Android app can access location data, Facebook has now updated its location controls. The new privacy settings will enable Android users to opt out of location tracking when they aren’t actively using the app and have greater control over how much of their location data is saved by the social media giant. With a new option in place, Android users will now be able to decide whether or not they want Facebook to be aware of their location at all times.
What you never enabled Facebook to access your location?
If you never allowed Facebook to have access to your location, don’t worry, as nothing will change for you. Those who did allow Facebook to have access of their location will receive an alert in-app about the new setting and give users access to adjust the settings.
There is something lost
Although constant location tracking is considered similar to stalking by some, it also has its own benefits. For instance, Facebook can help people catch up with friends who are nearby or use location data to recommend the fastest route to reach a destination. However, the ball is now in the user’s court, as it will be up to them to decide whether or not they want to be tracked all the time.