Facebook could soon track your every movement

Facebook, the biggest social network on the planet with more than a billion users, seems to want to know even more about you. More precisely, Facebook seems to want to track you at all times.

At least that’s the gist of a report from Bloomberg that came out on Monday and says that Facebook is working on a smartphone application that would track users’ location even when the app isn’t opened. According to this report, the app itself would be used to track a user and alert him whenever friends are nearby but the actual use of the app is so that Facebook can serve you localized ads.

Facebook has been struggling for a long time with their mobile strategy and this app, if it actually comes to market, is just the latest effort by the company to try and monetize its huge user base and mobile presence.

The social network has already come under heavy attack amid privacy concerns for its users and launching an app that continuously tracks users’ location is definitely not going to help. Similar products from Apple and Google have failed to gain any widespread adoption due to the same privacy concerns Facebook will now face.

According to Bloomberg the app is set to be released sometime in March of this year though an exact date has yet to be set.

Source: Bloomberg

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This article incorrectly states that the "actual" use of the app is for Facebook to serve users ads. No. That is one feature of the app, but the app has uses to its users that this article seems to ignore. Further, one fact the article appears to not point out is that Facebook needs to display ads and monetise in order to survive!

This article seems focussed on trying to stir up a privacy concern that is not even an issue. This app will track users' locations *if users choose to use it and allow the app to know their location*. It's an app that will provide much use to those of us who would like to use it, and it's an app that won't infringe on the privacy of those who don't wish to use it!

Edited by Calum, Feb 6 2013, 1:51pm :

Calum said,
This article incorrectly states that the "actual" use of the app is for Facebook to serve users ads. No. That is one feature of the app, but the app has uses to its users that this article seems to ignore. Further, one fact the article appears to not point out is that Facebook needs to display ads and monetise in order to survive!

This article seems focussed on trying to stir up a privacy concern that is not even an issue. This app will track users' locations *if users choose to use it and allow the app to know their location*. It's an app that will provide much use to those of us who would like to use it, and it's an app that won't infringe on the privacy of those who don't wish to use it!

Sure you can turn it off, but how many people know that option exists? I acknowledge that this has its benefits but.....

You forget that Facebook is well known for implementing features and hiding the notice in a change log to minimize exposure, don't claim that media and people are making things up because that's just bull****, as a Facebook user I have seen these things happen.

Toysoldier said,

Sure you can turn it off, but how many people know that option exists? I acknowledge that this has its benefits but.....

You forget that Facebook is well known for implementing features and hiding the notice in a change log to minimize exposure, don't claim that media and people are making things up because that's just bull****, as a Facebook user I have seen these things happen.


If Facebook provide it as an opt-in feature (like they did with photo-syncing) and clearly warn users it will track their location, Facebook cannot be blamed if users unwittingly use the feature. However, if Facebook don't clearly notify the user of what the feature does and if the OS doesn't tell the user the app would like to track their location, or if Facebook opt the user in without their consent (as they have done with some features in the past, which they may have since learnt from), I would agree with you that Facebook would be at fault.

I'm not forgetting any of the past mistakes Facebook have made; I'm just pointing out that the media should not post articles like this that try to create panic among Facebook users when there is no cause for concern. This article is clearly focussed on trying to worry users about a privacy concern that is not there; it's a privacy concern that doesn't exist because there is no confirmed information about whether Facebook will make this opt-in or opt-out and there is no information about how they plan to notify users that this app will track their location.

As it stands, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone all notify the user when an app wishes to track their location (and BlackBerry OS probably does), so if the user allows the app to track their location, the user is solely at fault when the app tracks their location and they don't wish it to. Facebook would not be at fault at all for that, although as I mention, it would be ethical of them to inform the user of what the app does in that regard.

techbeck said,
Not cool if they do this...but I rarely use FB from my phone and do not do the stupid checkins wherever I go.

Why isn't it cool if they provide an opt-in feature that you don't have to use; one which many of us could find useful? Remember, there is no confirmed information about whether Facebook plan to make this opt-in or opt-out.

I'm not particularly bothered about my 'privacy' in this scenario but still can't think of anything worse, why would people want other people to know where you are.. i'm a bit of a loner though, and hate people.. anyone on my FB i care about i probably already know where they are, anyone else i'd rather not know or have random old friends showing up..

People don't want others (whom they don't actually know) where they are and think people they don't know are actually interested in them, even though these people probably don't know them either.

#Logic.

Navan said,
Well, good luck to facebook tracking Calum all the time.

What's that supposed to mean? I have no problem with Facebook knowing where I am.

Actually if you have cellular connectivity you are traceable but that's not the point of the article. The point is that Facebook are creating an app that will track users' location all the time. If users disable the geolocation service the app will become useless so it will most likely be turned on by default. Now how many of the billion+ potential users will actually know that the app is actively tracking them in real time? How many will be outraged 6 months from now when we hear about some stalker using it to get to someone? And if history is any indication Facebook hasn't learned sh*t from their previous mistakes

Actually you ard traceable even if the phone is off; and unless you pull the battery off a switched off device can be used to listen to your conversation.

so simply disable geolocation and use Facebook on your phone as normal, if any facebook updates mean I start seeing the location icon on my phone, I'll simply delete the app. -shrug-

I just watched a video not long ago about how companies tracks your data, password, credit card etc. Facebook clearly don't even have a good policy or they just been slack with their policy.

Kenny Kanashimi Chu said,
I just watched a video not long ago about how companies tracks your data, password, credit card etc. Facebook clearly don't even have a good policy or they just been slack with their policy.

Why don't you think they have a good policy? This is a feature that people don't have to use and there is no confirmed information about whether Facebook plan to make this opt-in or opt-out.

My facebook privacy settings on my phone are already off and will stay that way.

It shows way to much detail when you can pinpoint the other persons house on a map while chatting to them

Google Latitude already tracks me for all I care. I wouldn't use an app which tracks me if I don't want to be tracked, no?

Edit: Oh, and yes, there will be stories about people who opted-in, accepted a facebook invite from a 'pretty lady' they don't know in person, and as a result their house was robbed. Then again no technology can protect people from themselves.

There's already numerous apps built into the operating system of the phone that already track everything you do...including some that you think you have shut off....but still track you in the background.

You might as well face reality...every app you download is either advertising based..or a paid app...but even paid apps still track where you go and what you buy online.

Even with all the data that they currently have they have been struggling to make it mean anything in terms of $$$.

After everything Facebook knows about me, it still can't seem to serve me an add that I find interesting and will click on. At least they aren't lying about what my friends "Like" to me anymore (or saying that I "Like" stuff that I don't). That was too far. But I'm not going to file (turn over MORE of my information to some random law firm) to get <$10 over it.

blah blah blah, I don't see where the problem is.. just turn off the damn internet on your phone. I have internet turned on only when I actually need to use it. Also.. just uninstall facebook and no problems!

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