Last week, a Google Chrome extension called Marauders Map showed just how easy it was to track the location of Facebook Messenger users by using their data to plot them on a map. However, the site has updated the Messenger app, and now it will no longer track location by default.
Prior to the change, location information was automatically on Android devices. Now, however, users must choose when to share their location and go through a series of steps to do so. Though the announcement was timed perfectly with the reveal of the Marauders Map tool to make it seem as if this change was a reaction to the privacy-violating app, Facebook has actually been developing this update for some time.
“Now you can choose to explicitly send a map of your location or another particular place as a separate message,” Facebook Head of Product for Messenger Stan Chudnovsky wrote in a blog post announcing the change. “With this update, you have full control over when and how you share your location information. You only send a location when you tap on the location pin and then choose to send it as a separate message.”
Many users still don’t know that Messenger was keeping tabs on them in the first place, so this announcement could come and go quietly. Still, it’s always a good idea to give people more control over what sensitive info they share.
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