SOMETIMES WE WANT TO SHAKE Facebook and scream "really?" at it, and none more so than today given it's trying to patent technology to predict where users plan to go next.
At least that's according to Buzzfeed News, which discovered the patent application filed by the social network under the title of "Offline Trajectories".
The patent sounds like something you'd expect to see in an episode of Black Mirror or in some near-future dystopia pretending to be a pristine utopia designed to make you feel safe and sound by predicting your every move.
But what it plans to do, at least in the short term, is to predict where people plan to go "based at least in part on previously logged location data".
Why would Facebook want to do that? Well, there's no explicit word from the social network and indeed it told Buzzfeed News: "We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications -- such as this one -- should not be taken as an indication of future plans."
So excuse us as we reach for our prediction hat. The logical use of such tracking would be for Facebook to update its users' News Feed with content if thinks might be suitable to their location, say a deal at a local shop or restaurant.
Of course, that data could be used to serve adverts because Facebook bloody loves doing that.
Such a move would be classic Facebook, as it loves to find new ways to cleverly serve content, but at the same time this could make some users feel a bit queasy about privacy, particularly after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
And a suite of internal documents that from Facebook that UK Parliament made public doesn't pain the social network and its attitude towards data use in a good light, though boss man Mark Zuckerberg has said that those documents can be taken out of context.
Maybe Facebook should just concentrate on serving users up legitimate info about their friends instead, thereby helping people feel good or bad about themselves as they compare their lives to those of their schoolmates. µ
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