Facebook is ending several services that tracked your real-time location, such as Nearby Friends, weather alerts, location history, and background location, because of “low usage,” as 9to5Mac noticed. In an email sent to people who have used the feature in the past, Facebook says it will stop collecting data related to these features on May 31 and will delete any data it has stored on August 1.
Meta, which owns Facebook, told The Verge that the news was true. “We’re getting rid of some location-based Facebook features because they don’t get used much,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email. “But people can still use Location Services to control how their location information is collected and used.”
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THIS DOESN’T MEAN THAT FACEBOOK WILL STOP COLLECTING LOCATION DATA ALTOGETHER.
This doesn’t mean that Facebook will stop collecting location data completely, though. Facebook says in a note to its users that it will “continue to collect location information for other experiences” to show relevant ads and check-ins based on a user’s location.
This is in line with the company’s data policy. In the Settings and Privacy menu, you can look at, download, or get rid of any location data that the platform has saved. If you don’t change your settings, Facebook will delete any data it has stored about services it has stopped offering on August 1.
I don’t think many of us will miss these things when they’re gone. (It doesn’t seem like many people these days use Facebook to get weather updates.) Facebook’s Nearby Friends feature, which came out in 2014, lets your Facebook app share your real-time location with your friends and vice versa. This was done so that you could meet up with people nearby. It’s easy to see why it lost popularity over time when similar features like Snap Map and Apple’s Find My Friends took off.
Since Facebook doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping users’ data safe, the fact that it’s getting rid of these location-based features is a relief. After a report showed that Facebook tracked users’ locations if they made a “credible” threat, Android users were able to turn off background location tracking in 2019. (Apple already let users stop certain apps from tracking their location.)
Here is the full message that Facebook sent to its users:
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We’re telling you this because you’ve used Nearby Friends, Weather alerts, Location History, or Background Location in the past. After May 31, 2022, these products and features won’t be available anymore. Even if you turned on Location History and Background Location before May 31, 2022, they will no longer collect the information you shared that was used for these experiences. If you don’t tell Facebook where you are, it will keep collecting that information for other uses, as described in our Data Policy.
Change the settings
Until May 31, 2022, you can change your Location History and Background Location settings in the Facebook app. After this date, you won’t be able to change the settings.
Finding out where you’ve been
You can access and download your Location History information until August 1, 2022, if you want to look at it or delete it. If you do nothing after this date, your Location History information will be deleted on its own.
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