Facebook is often justly criticized for not doing enough to protect user privacy. However, the company made an encouraging change to its privacy settings this week, allowing users to opt out of sharing their location data while they’re not using the Facebook app.
Before now, location tracking on Android was, as The Verge points out, an “all or nothing” affair. iPhone users have always been able to stop third parties from tracking them when they’re not using an app, but Android users have had to grant Facebook either full access to their info or none at all. Thankfully Facebook has introduced some nuance to these settings. However, there’s one disturbing fact that cannot be ignored: until now, Facebook has been tracking Android users everywhere they go, completely unchecked.
This update is still rolling out, so if you’re an Android user, try opening Facebook on your phone. You should see a notification encouraging you to “Manage Settings.” Then, simply toggle the “background location” setting to off. If you’re still not seeing the update, you can also turn off full location tracking manually in the Facebook app’s Privacy Shortcuts tab under Settings & Privacy. It’s easy, but this step goes a long way toward strengthening your data privacy.
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