Last month, two prominent U.S. lawmakers pressed Facebook to explain why it tracks users’ locations even when they elect to disable location tracking. The social media giant finally got around to submitting a response this week — though neither of the lawmakers in question are remotely satisfied with the answer.
In several eye-opening admissions, Facebook told Sen. Chris Coons and Sen. Josh Hawley that it can indeed deduce users’ locations with context clues and IP addresses. The company also said that it targets ads using this limited information. Facebook defended itself by saying that it can also use this info to alert users if their accounts have been accessed in an unusual place. The two senators weren’t pleased with this explanation, however, and pressed Facebook again to be straightforward with users about what it’s doing with their data — and to give people greater control over their info.
“Facebook claims that users are in control of their own privacy, but in reality, users aren’t even given an option to stop Facebook from collecting and monetizing their location information,” Sen. Coons said. “The American people deserve to know how tech companies use their data, and I will continue working to find solutions to protect Americans’ sensitive information.”
It’s troubling that it takes such strong political pressure to get Facebook to admit what it’s doing. Still, there’s some hope our representatives can force the company to eventually make a more meaningful change.
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