Facebook’s new privacy control blocks access to background location tracking on Android

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Credit: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/02/location-settings-android/

Facebook has just added a new privacy control to the Android version of its app. The control gives you the edge when it comes to controlling how the Facebook app gains access to your location even while the app is not open.

Going by Wednesday’s announcement, it seems what Facebook used access to keep checking on your locations, regardless of whether or not the app is open. However, today’s announcement gives you the opportunity to opt out of sharing your location while the apps is closed. A new toggle that limits Facebook from checking in only when the app is open or is being used by you.

Today we’re announcing an update to Facebook’s location controls on Android to give people more choice over how we collect location information and how we store it. We’re not making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made nor are we collecting any new information as a result of this update,” Paul McDonald, Engineering Director, Location Infrastructure at Facebook said.

While iOS already presents you with an option of blocking your location in the background, that of Android does not give you that option. That said, the social media behemoth said that won’t stop it from sending out alerts to both iOS and Android users, requesting that they review their location settings.

Credit: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2019/02/location-settings-android/

Facebook recently announced plans to interconnect its trio of app—WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger. The plan as expected generated mixed reactions from users—with most people criticizing the move and wondering what would become of their privacy should such move see the light of the day.

The plan according to The New York Times, is to allow for cross-messaging between all three. Each service is expected to remain as a standalone app, while the underlying infrastructure will be rebuilt. The end result is so that users might use only one of Facebook’s properties to communicate with others within the same ecosystem. Just like in WhatsApp, all three apps will support end-to-end encryption.

Citing people familiar with the story, The New York Times reports that the essence is to allow cross-messaging between all three apps. Besides getting its users engaged on all three platforms, it is difficult to see past Facebook’s plan to boost its revenue through merging all three apps.

We want to build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

The worry for me is, how Facebook handles the issue of privacy as it is almost certain that data will be shared among all three of them. How do I engage other users across all three apps without exposing my phone number, personal data, and other vital information? That is the big question begging for answers—and hopefully it does not become a big issue later.


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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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