FACEBOOK HAS DECIDED TO POLICE ITSELF by allowing Android users to prevent its app from sucking up their location when it's not open.
It comes as part of an update to Facebook's privacy controls, which Facebook's engineering director of its infrastructure division, Paul McDonald said would give Android users more control over how Facebook collects and stores their data.
"We're introducing a new background location control on Facebook for Android so people can choose if they want us to collect location information when they're not using the app," said McDonald.
"For example, when people choose to use Nearby Friends, a feature that lets friends share their locations with each other, they give Facebook permission to access their location even when they're not using the app.
"Until today, people using these features were asked to enable Location History. If you enabled this setting, two things happened: you would share your location when you weren't using the app and you would allow Facebook to store a history of your precise locations. With this update, you'll have a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share your location when you aren't using the app."
So essentially, Facebook is allowing more granular control for its users on how their location data is gobbled up.
And McDonald noted that the changes won't mess with any previous privacy choices Android app users have made. So there's no chance for Facebook to sneakily switch on a load of data-collecting under the guise of an update.
What's a tad ironic about this is that the move comes only shortly after CNBC reported that Facebook had been using location info to search for users it considered to a threat, as well to track missing interns; we had one of those called Jason... he's not been seen since 2016.
It's worth noting that Facebook has said it only used to track Android app users in the background if they had a feature enabled called "location history".
Nevertheless, these policy changes make the whole thing more explicit and puts more control in the hands of users; this is probably a sensible move for Facebook given 2018 highlighted that the company doesn't always seem to have the best grasp on its users' data when it comes to ensuring privacy and the transparency of data use. µ
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