How To: Stop Facebook's Creepy, Always-On Location Tracking

Facebook tracks an inordinate amount of data on its users and, as a matter of widely reported fact, doesn't always safeguard that well enough. Alongside bits of information, images, and other media users have handed over to the social media giant over the years, users are also passing along their location data. That includes data about their location and activity when they aren't using the app at all.

Facebook has faced repeated scrutiny or fines at a governmental level over the years and has made some changes but even the largest of those fees haven't apparently been enough to end the issues.

The tracking, in this case, is turned on by default when users download the app and sign-in. Unless users read the fine print in all of the associated documents within the app, they may not even be aware of it. So the fact that there's a straightforward way to turn off location tracking and a way to delete data what's already been captured is good news for users that don't want to abandon the company completely for another site or app.

Turn the data tracking off

It's worth pointing out that turning off data tracking in Facebook won't stop the company from collecting any data from media or posts on the site or in the app. Instead, it only stops data from being tracked when the app isn't being used and outside of posts. That should still save a substantial amount of user data from being collected.

The first step to ending Facebook's tracking is to open the application, the setting can only be found there, rather than on the site. That means that users will want to double-check other devices that have been signed in and may need to follow these steps on each gadget.

Within the Facebook app, users will need to tap on the three-dash menu button before selecting "Settings and Privacy" from the resulting menu. Under the "Privacy Shortcuts" submenu, an option to "Manage your location settings" can be found. That contains the choice to select "Location Access" and toggle "Location History" to off. Users will also need to turn off the "Use Location" setting under the "Location Services" option.

Deleting the data that's already there

As noted above, turning off location tracking won't necessarily stop Facebook from collecting any data at all. It's less clear if that extends to location history that's been stored. So the company may or may not continue to hold onto location data from a user's posted content.

A similar process is used to delete stored location data as to put an end to the tracking. Following the abovementioned steps to get to the "Manage your location settings" option, users will need to tap on the "View Your Location History" option. That area also lets users explore data the company has tracked. To delete the data that Facebook will allow users to delete, users need to tap on the three-dot menu at the right-hand side of the UI and then select "Delete all location history."

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Junior Editor
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]