Facebook Denies Suggesting Friends Based On User Location

Privacy concerns and lawsuits are definitely not a new issue regarding Facebook and things just made a turn for the worse. Namely, a new report that surfaced online yesterday has seemingly confirmed that the most popular social network on the planet is definitely tracking our location in order to suggest new potential friends. That not only includes our current location but also places where we're just getting ready to go to and locations which we frequently visit.

Interestingly enough, Facebook has adamantly denied these accusations. Responding to the aforementioned report, the company's spokesperson claimed that the "People You May Know" uses a lot of factors, but device location is not one of them. Regardless of that, the same representative did admit that Facebook ran a similar experiment using users' locations last year, but that the said feature never made it into any global build of its social app. The spokesperson then proceeded to explain that even if Facebook was using location information, that data by itself isn't a reliable indicator of two people knowing each other.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned report has cited a person which has attended an anonymous meeting for parents of suicidal teens hours prior to Facebook suggesting one of the other attendees which he has never met before that day. After checking his Facebook settings, the said user discerned that the app was allowed to access his device's location. The same location that was apparently the only common factor between him and another parent suggested for befriending by Facebook. Sure, this is just circumstantial evidence, but few will deny it's not creepy. Of course, there's also the fact that using users' location to suggest friends to them has the potential to turn into a massive privacy disaster, as the original report has pointed out.

Whether it exists in any global build of Facebook or not, this "feature" can luckily be prevented from ever functioning. To shut it down once and for all, all you need to do is open the Settings menu on your phone, find the Facebook app, and deny its permission to use you device's location for any purpose, funky or not. In related news, Facebook has recently issued a public assurance that its mobile app is not listening in on its users. That assurance was also prompted by some anecdotal but still creepy evidence which has surfaced online.

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About the Author

Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]