In a move that should surprise no one at all, Facebook’s mobile app is being used to track your location. While we’ve know about this privacy issue for some time now, we didn’t know just how bad the situation was. But thanks to Aleksandra Korolova, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, we now know more about Facebook’s questionable tracking practices.
Facebook’s Cell Phone Spy App
At this point, its easy to see the similarities between Facebook’s mobile app and an actual cell phone spy app. But, what we didn’t expect was just how far Facebook would be willing to go to collect your information. As it turns out, Facebook’s mobile app will continue tracking your location, even after you’ve denied it permission to do so. This includes turning off the “Location Tracking History” option via the Facebook app, as well as revoking location tracking permissions via your phone’s settings. As well as revoking location tracking permissions via your phone’s settings. It was previously thought that either of these options would be enough to stop Facebook from tracking your location. However, as Aleksandra Korolova pointed out, this does not appear to be the case.
Aleksandra Korolova’s Findings
According to Korolova’s post on the social media site Medium, Facebook has several ways to go about tracking your phone. Even after disabling all the options that allows them to get away with it. For starters, the Facebook app can easily identify the IP address of the WiFi your device is connected to. By knowing this unique IP address, Facebook can tell the exact location of your device. This goes for every new WiFi connection your phone connects to as well. While Facebook claims it needs to track your devices IP address for security reasons, it’s not hard to speculate that this information could also be used for marketing purposes as well. And while Facebook claims that IP address tracking doesn’t filter into their geo-located ads, we’re hard pressed to take anything the company says at face value (pun intended.)
So if you’re worried about protecting your privacy, do yourself a favor and remove the Facebook app from your phone. Who knows, you might even enjoy not having to check your profile every five minutes.