Facebook has long encouraged users to share their locations with others, but now the company has announced that it is improving privacy for Android users by adding new location privacy settings. The new settings allow them to choose whether the social network can track their location when they’re not using the app.
“Today we’re announcing an update to Facebook’s location controls on Android to give people more choice over how we collect location information and how we store it,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. “We’re not making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made nor are we collecting any new information as a result of this update.”
The social network explained that Android and iOS devices previously had different methods of accessing and sharing users’ locations. Android previously had only a toggle to switch the user’s location sharing on or off. However, iOS had an additional setting which allowed users to choose whether or not to share their location when they aren’t using the app. Now with the new location privacy settings, Facebook is giving Android users more control over their location sharing.
“If you enabled this setting, two things happened: you would share your location when you weren’t using the app and you would allow Facebook to store a history of your precise locations,” blog post reads. “With this update, you’ll have a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share your location when you aren’t using the app.”
The new location privacy settings for Android users do raise questions about the privacy of users’ data, given that Facebook and its other apps, Instagram and WhatsApp, are known for being careless with data, often even mishandling it. However, the location history settings do allow users to decide how much of their location data they want to share, including their current location and a list of the places they have been.
What about iOS users?
Facebook also clarified that the new settings will not be added to the iOS version of its app because it already contained similar settings. The social network will send alerts to inform anyone who has enabled Location History in the past. This will encourage all users to review their location-sharing settings and make any changes if they wish to do so.