One question that remains in a user’s mind these days is whether Facebook collects location data when you are not using the app. And to give users more transparency, social media giant has announced an update to Facebook’s location controls on Android to give people more choice over how we collect location information and how we store it.
Why for Android? While Android and iOS are by far the two most popular mobile operating systems, but their location settings work differently. Android offers a single on/off switch for Location Services, so you can decide whether to share your precise location with Facebook and other apps. But iOS offers an additional option, so you can share your precise location always, only when the app is in use, or never.
The new background location control on Facebook for Android gives people choice if they want Facebook to collect location information when they’re not using the app. For example, when people choose to use Nearby Friends, a feature that lets friends share their locations with each other, they give Facebook permission to access their location even when they’re not using the app.
Until today, people using these features were asked to enable Location History. If you enabled this setting, two things happened: you would share your location when you weren’t using the app and you would allow Facebook to store a history of your precise locations. With this update, you’ll have a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share your location when you aren’t using the app.
For people who previously chose to turn their Location History setting “on,” the new background location setting is “on.” For people who had turned Location History “off” – or never turned it on in the first place – the new background location setting is “off.”
‘We’re alerting everyone using the Facebook app on an Android device who chose to turn on Location History in the past, letting them know about the new control, and asking them to take a moment to check that their settings are right for them. If you’ve never turned on Location History, you don’t have to do anything. We won’t turn either of these settings on unless you specifically tell us to,’ Facebook said in a blog post.
For iOS users, nothing is changing. But Facebook will still send a similar alert to everyone who chose to turn on Location History in the past so they can check to make sure their settings are right for them.