Facebook Timeline Publishes Users’ Location Data

Facebook is requiring all users to switch over to Timeline by fall, but some aspects of the feature aren’t exactly sitting well with users. For instance, some posts are now displaying a map with the location of the user when he or she posts something to Facebook. Yikes!

As reported by Search Engine Journal, “This map appears as a hyperlinked location tag at the end of a wall post after the ‘Like . . .’ and ‘Date.’ For example, if you posted last night from your San Francisco home, your post might end with ‘Yesterday at 9:18pm near San Francisco.’”

Users can remove a link to the map from their timeline, as well as untag their location. However, these actions don’t entirely delete the map, which can still be found under its own URL (facebook.com/your.username/map/). In other words, there are steps users can take to increase their privacy protection, but they can’t undo Facebook’s invasiveness entirely. If this concerns you from a privacy standpoint, then your best bet is to not approve tags that contain location data. You can use the ‘Activity Log’ to remove items from your Timeline that contain location data.

Follow these directions to remove your Map as a Timeline Favorite:

  1. Navigate to your Timeline.
  2. Depending on the number of Favorites on your Timeline, you might need to click the down arrow located underneath the Activity Log.
  3. Hover over the top right corner of your ‘Map’ to display the edit icon.
  4. Click the pencil and then select ‘Remove from Favorites.

*Your map will still be visible by navigating to the URL ‘facebook[dot]com/yourfbname/map*

Why, exactly, does Facebook make it so difficult to set your own privacy settings? Why does it have to take a large public outcry to fix these problems? It remains unclear why Facebook’s user interface is so willfully difficult to manage privacy settings with. The fact that you have to find out on blogs and research on user forums to learn about Facebook’s privacy settings says a great deal about the company’s opaqueness and priorities.

Recommended Resources

BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.

PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.

Do Not Track + is a FREE browser plugin created by Abine. This easy to install plugin keeps websites from tracking you. If you value your online privacy, then you should definitely take advantage of this free product.

Action Alert | Free Parental Control offers a 100% free Internet safety solution designed for parents. There is also a Maximum Protection option for parents that need a more advanced set of tools.

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