Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new feature that will share your location with businesses when you’re near their stores. Facebook will use your geolocation data to find out what percentage of passersby have seen a brand’s ad, and to help stores custom-tailor their ads to promote more foot traffic.
This so-called “local insights” tab will be available for free to any business with a Facebook page, though paid advertisers will get to see the share of people passing a store’s locations that have seen their ads. Facebook will not provide the information of individual users, but will instead present “trends,” including the age and gender of people in the area.
There’s no doubt that this feature feels awfully creepy and invasive, especially since the vast majority of Facebook users probably don’t even know that it exists. However, there’s any easy way to protect yourself from Facebook’s prying eyes. In the Facebook mobile app, click on the “More” tab, and then “Account Settings.” Then go to “Location Settings” and then turn of the toggle for location tracking. It’s unfortunate that Facebook doesn’t make it easier to protect your private information, but at least there’s a way you can make sure stores aren’t following your every move in the streets.