Facebook started notifying its users about their plan to stop tracking their location. A weird choice, judging by the internet since there was no official public announcement.
Starting May 31st, 2022, Nearby Friends, Weather alerts and Location History will no longer be available.
That means that no matter if you had previously enabled these elements, Meta will stop collecting the information used to power the features mentioned above. According to Meta, all previously logged information related to these functions will be deleted on August 1st.
Why Are They Doing This?
Social Media Today asked Facebook for an explanation and more insight into this decision. This is what they said:
“While we’re deprecating some location-based features on Facebook due to low usage, people can still use Location Services to manage how their location information is collected and used.”
So, to put it simply – people don’t care about these features anymore, and there was no point in having the options – hence the removal.
However, the internet thinks that it’s still weird that Facebook would just give up the data it compiled over the years.
Last year it was reported that Facebook was using device accelerometer data to pinpoint user locations, even if the user had opted out of tracking via Apple’s ATT update.
Although the accelerometer is used for more than just device tracking, Facebook engineers had found a way to match up location information, even when the app had been told not to track them.
Maybe the company is now being pressured to stop using that practice as well, in order to avoid Apple’s new restrictions.
As both Meta and Google have faced significant fines over tracking user data, maybe there is a new push to limit Meta’s efforts to subvert these measures. That would explain removing options altogether before any legal challenges arise, suggests Andrew Hutchinson from Social Media Today.
Currently, Apple and Google appear to be the most effective regulators of app-based location tracking. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android now let users stop apps from getting their exact location in the background, and limit an app to only getting their approximate location.