Facebook is tracking your location even when you turn Location Services off
What you need to know
- Facebook has admitted to tracking users' location data even when opted out.
- The company penned a letter to Senators that was acquired by The Hill.
- The Senators involved claim that it proves the need for government intervention.
After continuous pressure from Senators, Facebook has today admitted that the company tracks the location of users who turn Location Services for the Facebook app off.
Reported by The Hill, Facebook sent a letter to Senators Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that answered questions around the company's location tracking process and if they continue to do so even when users opt-out of sharing their location with Facebook.
Rob Sherman, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, penned the letter and explained how the company is still able to determine a user's location even if they turn Location Services off on their phone.
Sherman went further, saying that the company is required to use this information to determine a location in support of its ads business.
Coons and Hawley both criticized Facebook for the behavior, saying that it was dishonest to allow users to think they were keeping their location private but using other methods to track them and make money from it. Senator Coons, who is part of the Senate Judiciary Committee's tech task force, said that the current practices by Facebook are "insufficient and even misleading."
Hawley was equally concerned, saying that it further proves that users do not really have control of their information and that government intervention is necessary.
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Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
"There is no opting out" 1000000000% false. Delete the crApp from your phone, or better still, delete your account. I "opted out" of F-erberg's spying years ago, AND block his trackers on all sites preemptively. Wish I could sue him over having my phone number from when my friends share it though.
It's important to know that by turning Location Services off, Apple stops providing your location automatically, that doesn't mean to say if you provide your location manually or your friend does (via a post, or checking in), they can't get it. It's the equivalent of buying a secure lock for your door but you leave the door unlocked anyway making it pointless. Your IP address reveals a "rough" idea of your location, not really accurate enough to be a large privacy issue, but it will be used for targeted advertising.