Facebook pulls the plug on some services leading to less geolocation tracking
Facebook will no longer be collecting data from a number of its geolocation services. Hence, features that previously tracked your real-time location, including Nearby Friends and weather alerts among others, will soon be discontinued (after May 31st, 2022).
In a statement for The Verge, a representative from Meta – Facebook’s parent company – confirmed the “deprecation of some location-based services”. Nearby Friends and weather alerts will be the first to go, with location history and background location expected to follow suit in the immediate future.
Originally, the information regarding the decision to terminate geolocation data collection was disclosed to users that utilize the aforementioned services through a notification. The official justification for the discontinuation is “low usage” on the users’ part.
Not only will data no longer be gathered, but Facebook will delete any and all stored data on August 1st, 2022. Users will be able to download and view the data collected by the platform before that cut-off point via the Setting and Privacy menu.
It should be noted that this does not mean Facebook will stop collecting geolocation data altogether. In line with the company’s data policy, said information will continue being gathered and processed, albeit for other “experiences”.
This naturally raises some questions, but anyone hardly expected for Facebook to voluntarily give up on collecting so much valuable user data. Meta has come under fire in recent years for the way in which sensitive user information is being handled.
This has led companies like Apple and governments alike to start implementing measures to safeguard user data, much to the distaste of Meta. For example, iOS enables users to both distort their geolocation and withhold it from Facebook altogether.
In the end, Facebook will be Facebook and will always treat user data as an invaluable commodity. Whether they will continue to get away with it remains to be seen.