- Facebook has changed its policy around location data collection and now makes it impossible for users to avoid being tracked for ads purposes, according to a Gizmodo report on Tuesday.
- “There is no way for people to opt out of using location for ads entirely,” a Facebook spokesperson said told Gizmodo.
- Such is a change of policy for Facebook, which said in a blog post back in 2014 that users “will only see ads based on their recent location if location services are enabled on their phone.”
- Facebook contends that providing relevant ads based on a user’s location provides a better experience.
A Facebook spokesperson told Gizmodo that the company does not use WiFi data to track locations for ads if a user has “Location Services” turned off, though it does use IP information, and other information like check-ins and the current city on a user’s profile, regardless.
“There is no way for people to opt out of using location for ads entirely,” the Facebook spokesperson said told Gizmodo.
Aleksandra Korolova – an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California –confirmed in a report, also published on Tuesday, that is was indeed impossible to avoid being followed by Facebook.
“The Location Controls provided by Facebook give an illusion of control over the data that informs one’s ad experience, not actual control,” Korolova said in her report.
Facebook wants to provide a ‘good service’
Taking away the ability for users to keep their location information private is a change of policy for Facebook, which said in a blog post back in 2014 that “people have control over the recent location information they share with Facebook and will only see ads based on their recent location if location services are enabled on their phone.”
According to Gizmodo, Facebook said it would need to update the out-of-date blog post.
Facebook contends that providing relevant ads based on a user’s location provides a better experience.
The company told Gizmodo that it uses location data to “ensure we are providing people with a good service-from ensuring they see Facebook in the right language, to making sure that they are shown nearby events and ads for businesses that are local to them.”
But in an age when online privacy is becoming an increasing concern, wouldn’t complete control over location tracking be the ultimate user experience?
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed their policy in a statement to Business Insider: “Facebook does not use WiFi data to determine your location for ads if you have Location Services turned off. We do use IP and other information such as check-ins and current city from your profile. We explain this to people, including in our Privacy Basics site and on the About Facebook Ads site.”
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