Facebook adds new privacy controls that lets you block background location tracking

Facebook uses data collected in the background for features like Nearby Friends and for ad targetting.

Facebook has definitely lost a lot of trust over the past year and is now scrambling to rebuild some of that. The social media giant has now launched new location control settings for Android which allow users more control over how much information they share with Facebook.

Facebook adds new privacy controls that lets you block background location tracking

Representative Image.

The new addition to Settings offers users a two-step process to monitor if the app can access your location even when you're not using it. The first step involves the user deciding whether or not the Facebook app has access to his/her location data at all, after which the app prompts the user to determine whether he/she wants the background data collection to continue.

Wondering why Facebook needs to collect data when you're not using the app anyway? Facebook claims that the data collected in the background helps with things like Nearby Friends, suggestions for things to do, and most importantly, suggest relevant ads based on your whereabouts.

Facebook's new location settings. Image: Facebook

Facebook's new location settings. Image: Facebook

For iOS users, Apple already presents the option to block an app from using your location in the background, so Facebook does not need to push out an update there. However, the social media giant says it’s going to be sending out alerts anyway to both iOS and Android users, asking them to review their location settings.

Facebook in a blog post on the update says that the company did not actually use the ability to check in on Android users' background location unless they manually allowed it on a setting called "location history", but the option has now been made much more readily accessible.

The update also happens to arrive just days after a report had stated that Facebook's security team monitored location information to track missing interns and users, deemed to be threats.

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