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Sunday, May 22, 2022

Facebook Doing Away With Background Location Trackers In Anticipation Of Regulatory Move

Facebook is in for its biggest bulk erasure since November last year, as it stops tracking the location of users and deletes their location history. You can now rest assured that the big daddy of social media is in the process of taking a virtual vacuum cleaner to the crumbs you have left in the process of your social interaction.

Beginning later this month, it will be one long whoosh of deletion of the location accounts of all its users. Parent company Meta Platforms disclosed this significant piece of news discreetly through app prompts and mails, refraining from any public announcements.

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One communication sent to users had news that Facebook was in the process of shutting down features that are reliant on background location trackers. One of them, Nearby Friends, was a 2014 option that Facebook used to notify you whenever a friend was in the vicinity. Localized weather alerts are also in the process of being shut down, though there are always better options.

Facebook’s Data Used By Authorities To Intrude On Individual Privacy Bypassing Established Rules And Principles

The message from Facebook only notified that apps on the platform would no longer record background data after May. The company will start deleting the location history of users after August 1.

This would amount to the biggest bulk erasure initiated by Facebook of its data since it decided in November last year that it would shut the facial recognition feature, and also wipe all the databases linked to it.

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A spokesperson for Meta announced through an email that the low usage of these features prompted the company to shut them down.

The move was welcomed by privacy advocates/ Dhanaraj Thakur said that it was a good move by the app to stop collecting such intensely private data.

 Dhanaraj Thakur of the Center for Democracy and Technology had earlier co-written a report in December that outlined how intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities buy such location data to get around the requirements of established rules and principles, impinging on individual privacy and freedom.

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