iOS 13 makes some noticeable changes to the way in which location data is handled by third-party apps, and also how users are presented with location permissions. This is something you can see for yourself if you run the iOS 13 public beta. With privacy being such a major concern these days, Facebook published a blog post to try and stay a step ahead of any possible controversy.
Whenever an app makes use of your location data, iOS 13 displays a special popup. This popup not only tells you that the app is using the data, it also shows you a map of the exact location data that the app has tracked. (For instance, if you were using a GPS navigation service, it’d show you the app tracking your location across a given area).
Facebook’s Post Tries to Reassure Users that they’re in Control of Location Data
Facebook’s new blog post details how location permissions work on both iOS 13 and Android 10. It underlines that “Facebook is better with location,” implying that giving location permissions to the app will result in a better user experience. It mentions that location permissions help to provide personalized ads as well as facilitating the Find Wi-Fi and Nearby Friends features.
However, even if you don’t give location permission to the Facebook app, your location is still being tracked. Facebook was at least gracious enough to acknowledge this. The post states that your location may still be monitored through your check-ins to places and events, and from net connection data. Here’s a quote from their blog post where they affirm that the user is still in control of their location data:
“You’re in control of who sees your location on Facebook. You can control whether your device shares precise location information with Facebook via Location Services, a setting on your phone or tablet.
We may still understand your location using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection.”
Facebook faced considerable backlash over the Cambridge Analytica scandal a few years ago. After that, there’s rising public awareness about the sheer quantity of data social media companies collect about people. Initiatives like this that signpost a willingness to be more transparent are very desirable in this context.