When news broke that Facebook was at least temporarily using users physical location to suggest real world connections, a strategy that has been employed by the NSA, the backlash was sharp. It wasn’t difficult to imagine scenarios when identities could be inadvertently and uncomfortably revealed through group therapy, 12-step meetings or secretive political movements.
The world’s most popular social network quickly said it would not continue what it called a small-scale test nor roll the feature on a wider scale in the future.
But Facebook is still using your location data for other purposes, Fusion‘s Kashmir Hill reports:
We do know that Facebook is using smartphone location for other things, such as tracking which stores you go to and geotargeting you with ads, but the social network now says it’s not using smartphone location to identify people you’ve been physically proximate to.
Hill notes that using location to match users up, thus acting as a tool to reveal the identity of nearby strangers, might violate Facebook’s agreement with the Federal Trade Commission . So you should expect that your location — like everything you do on Facebook — is being used to turn you into a better product for its advertisers.
That’s the cost of using a “free” site but you can limit your exposure a bit by turning off location services for Facebook on your phone.
Do you mind if Facebook uses your location to suggest new friends? Let us know in the comments.
[Image by Lwp Kommunikáció | Flickr]