Facebook user location tracking continues to follow people around, regardless if they turn off the service in the app settings…
Here’s yet another scandal to hit Facebook of late. Turns out, the social corporation tracks its users, even when they switch off the location tracking tool. This, according to news reports and a detailed blog post by a university professor.
Facebook User Location Tracking Still Works, Even when Ostensibly Turned Off
University of Southern California computer science professor Aleksandra Korolova took notice when she saw targeted ads, after disabling the feature:
“Moreover, I have noticed that whenever I travel for work or pleasure, Facebook continues to keep track of my location and use it for advertising: a trip to Glacier National Park resulted in an ad for activities in Whitefish, Montana, a trip to Cambridge, MA — in an ad for a business there, and a visit to Herzeliya, Israel — in an ad for a business there.”
While it’s known Facebook uses IP address, Wi-Fi networks, and Bluetooth connections to pinpoint users’ whereabouts, it’s not entirely clear how it continues to do so after the service is disabled. However, the social corporation does admit to using data from check-ins and more, which users can’t opt out of:
“Facebook does not use WiFi data to determine your location for ads if you have Location Services turned off. We do use IP and other information such as check-ins and current city from your profile. We explain this to people, including in our Privacy Basics site and on the About Facebook Ads site.
There is no way for people to opt out of using location for ads entirely. We use city and zip level location which we collect from IP addresses and other information such as check-ins and current city from your profile to ensure we are providing people with a good service—from ensuring they see Facebook in the right language, to making sure that they are shown nearby events and ads for businesses that are local to them.”