Facebook’s damage control efforts after its several recent scandals have culminated in a new Location Settings for its Android app.
The new background location control provides an option to disallow the ability to collect location information when the app is not being used.
In past Facebook has faced criticisms due to their collection of cellular network towers identifiers and other location-related identifiers even if the app is not being used. While Facebook claims this is needed for its feature to show nearby friends, privacy advocates claim it is a ruse to target geo-specific advertisements.
The new update will not change the setting by default. E.g. for people who turned their Location History setting “on,” the new background location setting is “on.” For those who turned it “off” – or never turned it on in the first place – the setting remains “off.”
The feature is supposed to provide the users on Android more choise over how the location information is collected and stored.
No change for Facebook’s iOS app
The feature update is limited to Android and the iOS app remains largely unaffected. Partly due to the fact that similar granular control already exists on iOS.
However, the granular control is not available within the app where the user can choose to allow or disallow the collection of location history.