back to article Facebook: Remember how we promised we weren’t tracking your location? Psych! Can't believe you fell for that

Facebook has been caught bending the truth again – only this time it has been forced to out itself. For years the antisocial media giant has claimed it doesn’t track your location, insisting to suspicious reporters and privacy advocates that its addicts “have full control over their data,” and that it does not gather or sell …

  1. JohnFen Silver badge

    Interesting phrasing

    "We may still understand your location using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection"

    Understand your location sounds a lot friendlier than the more accurate determine your location.

    Facebook is a detestable company. I genuinely wonder how people can stomach working for them.

    1. Grikath

      Re: Interesting phrasing

      It's nice to bash on Cr*pbook, but let's be honest. They're by far not the only one... All the Alphabet companies are just as bad, if not worse.

      Even with Stuff turned off, Blockers applied, etc. ( with the result that certain sites become next to unuseable because they generate more "GDPR/Privacy" compliance popups than a 90's pr0n site..), it's my general experience that any site using ads can *still* pinpoint your position within a mile or so within a couple of visits.

      I do tend to move around a lot, so that one becomes....obvious... after a bit...

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting phrasing

        All sites have to know your IP address to know where to send the responses, and that can sometimes be used to establish a location, ads or not. In my case, the location it comes up with floats around, but is usually in a major metro area about 50 miles from my location. It's a dynamic IP, so it will be something else next time, and it changes regularly (I make sure of it).

        Also, what ads?

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Interesting phrasing

          "...and that can sometimes be used to establish a location, ads or not"

          VPN - IP can still be used to identify a location, but it's the location of the VPN exit point not your real location

        2. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Interesting phrasing

          I think you need to update yourself on that. Your IP maybe dynamic but your ISP provides a hostname to that IP. That hostname is not dynamic, it's yours, you can use it in place of having a static public IP which is handy. It also means since they can idividually ID your connection they can gather more and more info about you from where that hostname pops up. You will see it in the headers of emails so anyone will access to emails will be able to build a picture.

          1. deep_enigma

            Re: Interesting phrasing

            (Fair disclosure - I work for a medium-sized Canadian ISP, and I have a couple of fingers in our DNS pie.)

            "Your IP maybe dynamic but your ISP provides a hostname to that IP. That hostname is not dynamic, it's yours,"

            Umm..... No. This is techically possible, but I'd be very surprised if many ISPs anywhere did this, and even more surprised if they're larger ones. Managing reverse DNS is turning into an arcane art, and all too many providers can't even get simple static names based on the IP right. Handling dynamic changes based on user logins requires more automation and processing to manage things, and it's easier to statically assign an IP to someone who wants a static connection for a server, and set the reverse DNS once, than to set up all that automation and provision the DNS platform to handle dynamic updates.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Interesting phrasing

              "I'd be very surprised if many ISPs anywhere did this"

              My ISP (Comcast) doesn't do this. It assigns me a hostname, but the hostname includes the IP address as part of it. If the IP address that I've been assigned changes, so does the hostname. That's why I have to use a dynamic DNS service -- if Comcast did what Wayland said, then that would be unnecessary.

        3. Buzzword

          Re: Location guessing based on IP address

          Obligatory XKCD reference (low earth orbit): https://xkcd.com/713/

      2. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Interesting phrasing

        "All the Alphabet companies are just as bad, if not worse."

        Given that Google have themselves been caught tracking users right after it said they weren't tracking users, It will be interesting to see how Google's own apps are affected by the change in Android. Will Android start to pipe up saying 'Google Maps / Google App / YouTube / etc has accessed your location in the background'? Or will Google apps somehow have a preferential treatment through their deep hooks into the OS?

        And come to think of it, how about the OS itself? ie latest Android / iOS will report apps that are accessing location and you can see how many times which app ha accessed your location, but what about how many times the OS itself accessed (and shared) that location?

        1. ratfox Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Interesting phrasing

          At least some of them are showing a notification, according to people already on Android 10. But I guess if you're using Android, you're fine with Google knowing your location anyway, right? Right?

        2. -v(o.o)v-

          Re: Interesting phrasing

          On Android 10 the Google apps will ask about background location the same way as any app.

          Why does the reporter think that Android 10 is not yet released?

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Interesting phrasing

        "They're by far not the only one"

        Absolutely true, and I give grief to all the companies that engage in such abhorrent behavior. This article is about Facebook specifically, though, and so it makes sense that Facebook is the target of comments.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Interesting phrasing

      Well, the whole key to their BS is right here... "It helps improve ads and..." Ads = cash in the corporate coffers. Everything else is eyewash.

      The real only way to stop them is turn the phone off or as the article says, delete the app. I do question the "deleting the app" as it will still pop up in the "uninstalled" menu which means some shit is there waiting. My ex deleted FB from her phone and even the icon for installing. It kept coming back from the dead.

    3. Wayland Bronze badge

      Re: Interesting phrasing

      If you've got nothing of value you have nothing to fear from crooks.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: Interesting phrasing

        You and your activities are the value being mined, not your possessions. So even if you have nothing, you're still of some value.

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    4. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Interesting phrasing

      > "We may still understand your location using things like check-ins, events and information about your internet connection"

      > Understand your location sounds a lot friendlier than the more accurate determine your location.

      It doesn't to me - it sounds more like "we shovel as much of the information about you as we can gather into some mystical algorithms to determine as much marketable information as we can find so that we can sell it on - and we'll take anything we can get our grubby paws on from the underlying OS and whatever you unwittingly enter into the app in the misguided belief that your value as a person increases with the number of posts you make"

  2. Phil Miesle
    Devil

    Microsoft OneDrive iOS does it too...

    Try to allow OneDrive to sync new iOS photos automatically and you'll be forced to enable location services...ostensibly allowing the app "to detect when you've changed position so it can upload the new photos in a batch." Quite why it needs to do this in a batch, and only when you've changed positions...

    1. Steve Aubrey

      Re: Microsoft OneDrive iOS does it too...

      Because determining when you have stopped taking pictures based on something like recency is so - well, unprofitable.

  3. Ol'Peculier

    I upgraded to Android 10 over the weekend, and was frankly astonished about the background permissions some apps had.

    They don't now, anthology I feel I have more work to do.

    1. JimboSmith Silver badge

      I use a no root firewall to stop apps from communicating with my mobile data or the wifi. I saw some apps were making some seriously hefty requests to the internet which I found interesting. Facebook is disabled on my phone as is location data. I don't use the location on my phone and avoid apps that says they want it.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Yay on using a firewall!

        I can't use the no-root variety, though, because they use the VPN service to work, and Android doesn't support more than one of those. You can't use a no-root firewall and an actual VPN at the same time. That a big part of why I consider the ability to root to be not optional.

  4. a pressbutton

    Samsung phones

    ... not sure I can delete facebook from my Samsung note 8

    yes, I have tried.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Samsung phones

      Yeah, preventing users from uninstalling apps is a terrible practice for sure. But you should at least be able to disable them in the Application Manager.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Samsung phones

        The key is "should be able to". Seems money talks to any corporate.

        1. MiguelC Silver badge

          Re: Samsung phones

          Samsung does allow disabling the Facebook app, and also the one from LinkedIn, unlike most Bixby ones... (on my phone, only Bixby Voice can be disabled)

          1. Schultz

            Re: Samsung phones

            I never had FB on my Samsung phones. Must be something about your provider :).

    2. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Samsung phones

      On my Samsung S6 I can 'disable' the FB app but not uninstall it. Not sure what 'disabling' really means.

      Preventing uninstallation of apps is indeed a terrible practice

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Samsung phones

        I have an S7 with no FB presence on it at all - not sure if it was "bundled" with it when I got it. It may also depend on where you get the phone from - I bought mine from Clove, not from the operator.

      2. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Samsung phones

        Preventing uninstallation of apps is indeed a terriblelucrative practice.

        The abuse-enabler wants their cut.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Samsung phones

        Disabling means that the app won't execute at all. It's functionally the same as uninstalling, except without actually deleting the app.

        1. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Disabling means that the app won't execute at all

          Until you update the OS, when it mysteriously returns.

    3. silent_count

      Re: Samsung phones

      I can understand why some software should not be removed. You don't want some user accidentally removing, for example, the phone dialer or the system settings software. Fine. I get that.

      However, I'd dearly like someone from any of the major Android manufacturers to explain why Facebook, Twitter and similar nonsense should be "system" apps and thus not removable without rooting the phone.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Samsung phones

        Hello Silent_count,

        Here let me explain that for you, it's really quite simple. There's this thing called Money, which we like. Facebook, Twitter and co. give us a tonne of it, which makes us very happy, and as such we make their apps "system" apps. If we didnt do that, they wouldnt give us all of the money and that would make us unhappy. So now you know the reason. I hope that helps...

        Yours Sincerely

        Samsung (and all the rest)

        1. silent_count

          Re: Samsung phones

          Or course, Iglethal. You are absolutely right. But Ms Samsung PR rep can't say, "we choose to make awful design decisions which screw customers over because $$$". So I'm curious how they'd justify this particular strain of nonsense.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Samsung phones

      Same with Sony... it's a bundled app that you can disable but not delete

      (I think I may have caught it before it managed to install as it's only supposed to be 184kb)

  5. TheWoolf

    Facebook app alternatives (on Android)

    There are a number of excellent replacements for the Facebook (and Messenger) apps. All are a mobile "wrapper" for the Facebook website, and include Messenger functionality. Here are the ones I've used and recommend. All are open-source:

    "Face Slim" (Not on Play Store, but is on the F-Droid open-source app store):

    https://f-droid.org/en/packages/org.indywidualni.fblite/ OR https://github.com/indywidualny/FaceSlim

    "SlimSocial for Facebook" (Available on Play Store & F-Droid):

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=it.rignanese.leo.slimfacebook OR https://f-droid.org/en/packages/it.rignanese.leo.slimfacebook/ OR https://github.com/rignaneseleo/SlimSocial-for-Facebook

    and my current favorite "Frost for Facebook": (Currently has an issue where some users get locked out of their FB accounts for "security" reasons. Likely due to Frost's agent-switching. More info: https://github.com/AllanWang/Frost-for-Facebook/issues/1522)

    https://f-droid.org/en/packages/com.pitchedapps.frost/ OR https://www.xda-developers.com/frost-for-facebook-fully-themeable-facebook-alternative/ OR https://github.com/AllanWang/Frost-for-Facebook

    1. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Facebook app alternatives (on Android)

      Not sure why the downvotes, apart from not putting the links in tags! FB (and others) surely need no app to provide the features they offer. I only access FB via a browser, so it is limited in what it can harvest. The only weird thing is that on the mobile web page it will always attempt to get you to install Messenger rather than let you see your messages - unless you switch to the desktop site. I wonder what info Messenger attempts to slurp....

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Facebook app alternatives (on Android)

        The downvotes may possibly be because you seem to think it's worthwhile accessing facebook at all.

        Just ditch it.

  6. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    > Facebook gives more details about how iOS 13 will work. Given how obsessively

    > secretive Apple is about such details, it’s fair to say that Facebook is not happy

    > and so has decided in a fit of pique to reveal them.

    No, this has been public knowledge since Apple announced it at WWDC earlier this year,

    no “obsessive secrecy” here.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Not only that, there are several million people who have installed the iOS 13 betas because they're developers or are curious, and have been seeing these things since the first beta was released in June.

      This is really a pretty minor change in iOS, the new thing that has Facebook panicked is the notification of background access to your location - probably because you would see these every minute or two and shut it off due to the annoyance. Which is probably why Apple added the "only once" option so if you want to use your location for e.g. a location tag you can without having to click 'no' all the rest of the time, or going into settings to enable/disable it every time you want to do that.

      Personally I disabled all ability of Facebook (and most apps other than a select few such as e.g. a biking app that have a legitimate reason) to track my location long ago. Probably was one of the first things I did when I installed Facebook on my 3gs a decade ago.

  7. Oengus Silver badge

    Location data is better for who?

    "It helps improve ads"

    It helps improve ad revenue for Faecesbook, FTFY

    Very few apps should ever need my "precise" location. For most things an app that would "need" my location a general location should be good enough. Navigation apps and emergency apps are a couple I can think of that need location. Browsers, social and messaging apps don't even need general location.

    The first thing I do with any device that has location services is turn it off and deny access to any app that requests my location.

    1. Mayday Silver badge

      Re: Location data is better for who?

      I've turned off location settings for Facebook on iPhone.

      Straight away the ads I get are all over the place. Most of which I have no bearing on me at all, compared to when location services was on. I'm getting ads for engagement rings, new baby stuff, gay speed dating (I think there would be some degree of mutual exclusivity in there somewhere) as examples.

      Point being this is good, if you can stuff up their algorithm so badly just by simple setting which they dont need anyway then its a good place to start. Its just a pity that it seems like one of the few ways to keep up with family (their choice not mine) etc who aren't local otherwise it would be gone.

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Location data is better for who?

        @Mayday - "I'm getting ads for engagement rings, new baby stuff, gay speed dating (I think there would be some degree of mutual exclusivity in there somewhere)"

        So FB has determined that unfaithful gay men who are about to propose to their long-term partner and adopt are most likely to turn off location settings? While that may be a small demographic, it does appear to have strong reasons to be concerned about tracking.

  8. Alan Watson

    Small correction re. Android

    You say that a feature that notifies you when an app accesses your location "will be added to Android 10". In fact it's already in Android 10, and those of us who joined the beta programme have had this for some time now. Of course it will be next year before Samsungs get it, but that's because Samsung are slow with these things. So the particular cat you describe has been out of the bag for a while.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Small correction re. Android

      If it's a beta, it's not released yet...

      Or shouldn't have been anyway.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Small correction re. Android

      These sorts of articles are targeted at 'production' users. That is, not at beta users who are voluntarily, intentionally using non-release software. Therefore in the context of users using production-release software, the phrasing "will be added in Android 10" is correct and accurate. That is, when Android 10 becomes a production release that handset makers distribute to phones, then a user will get Android 10 that introduces these new features.

    3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Small correction re. Android

      Lucky you - quite a lot of Android users are still waiting for v10...

      Also: don't forget to email corrections@theregister.co.uk if you think we've got something wrong. We can't read every comment, so we may miss this sort of thing. I've made it clear Android 10 is just out.

      C.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Small correction re. Android

        Pfft - I'm still on v8.0, waiting for 9 (or even 8.1). Seems S7's don't get any updates beyond security patches any more

    4. -v(o.o)v-

      Re: Small correction re. Android

      What do you mean "beta"? My Pixel had updated to a final release, I'm in no beta program.

  9. SMITCH79

    Things you wish you'd seen . . . . .

    "Here is our educated guess: Facebook ran their app on a beta version of iOS 13, looked at what the average user would see – and realized it had a nightmare on its hands."

    Would've loved to have been a fly on the wall for that one.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Things you wish you'd seen . . . . .

      I bet it was pretty silent. Just a couple high-level execs and engineers staring at an iPhone with looks of complete horror on their faces. Then the phrase "what are we going to do?". The opposite is possible too; whoever has dedicated their life to ever-increasing collection of location going through a bout of maniacal rage. Either way, I'd like to be far away from it.

      1. SMITCH79

        Re: Things you wish you'd seen . . . . .

        I saw it like a scene from Silicon Valley but I like your idea.

        I hadn't considered it from a darker angle.

        Fitting somehow.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is a much bigger problem than just the Facebook apps

    Every third party app that uses Facebook's SDK's for advertising also contains location tracking software in the form of Facebook-Places.

    https://github.com/facebook/facebook-android-sdk/blob/master/facebook-places/src/main/java/com/facebook/places/PlaceManager.java

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      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "For more read my patents."

        What are the patent numbers?

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          1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Facepalm

            > type "Ilya Geller patent" at google

            Did that. Found https://www.f6s.com/ilyageller

            And that one tells me "I patented textual search: I own Internet and Database Industry." Yeah, rrrrrrrrrrright.

            1. JetSetJim Silver badge
              Facepalm

              > And that one tells me "I patented textual search: I own Internet and Database Industry."

              There was me thinking you were paraphrasing with tongue firmly in cheek until I actually went to the link! Oh the lols. I also like the way when you click on the "Recommendations" link you get nowt.

              Looks like Ilya read a book on textual analysis, and then did a "XXX on an AI" set of patent applications. USPO, in their infinite diligence, took the money and issued numbers.

              Ilya, I wish you all the best in sueing "the internet and database industry", but I have a sneaky suspicion you'll be throwing more money away - if the internet and database industry are infringing your patents so significantly, I suspect they were infringing on them in a very public way a long time before you filed your application paperwork (and if a patent attorney advised you otherwise, they're a bit shit, IMHO).

              1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                Pint

                Spot on.

          2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Facepalm

            You could just have pointed to https://patents.justia.com/inventor/ilya-geller

            The LOL is strong with that.

      2. Ken Y-N
        Flame

        "Industry-standard"? Each of the three has a single-digit number of citations, yet I looked up some of my own dull patents and in 10 years or so they've picked up 50 or so citations each despite being relatively buzzword-free.

        And don't get me started on your gratuitous mention of blockchain...

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          1. JetSetJim Silver badge

            > I have, for 5 years, been posting comments everywhere, but have not been mentioned anywhere even once. Interesting, right? I think the explanation is that my discoveries are too expensive and cheaper to pay someone than to pay me.

            Or it says something about the value of your comments

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              1. JetSetJim Silver badge

                > How many tens of billions were spent on Waymo?

                Less than 1, according to one giddy source at least. And a big chunk of that was buying shit loads of cars.

                You seem to have a bee in your bonnet regarding your "patented tech" on textual analysis (which I'm not sure really applies to Waymo, but hey-ho).

                If you have a patent on something, but you cannot detect if someone is using it, then it's a pretty useless patent.

                If you have a patent on something that is basically a mashing together of two techniques, it's also pretty useless (see the "on an internet" era of patents).

                You need to have an inventive step that is non-obvious to someone in the field - automating via computer algorithms is non-obvious

                A cursory glimpse of your patents (and feel free to correct on this) reads that you are using "AI" to do style analysis of text - e.g. to determine consistency of authorship, or to ask "show me other text that matches this style"? This sort of stuff was being done in 1999

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                  1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
                    Angel

                    > I patented a Federal standard on how to structure texts.

                    Suggest you patent delusional bloviation, you are top notch with that one.

                3. JetSetJim Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  > automating via computer algorithms is non-obvious

                  Meant to say the opposite of this! "automating via computer algorithms is obvious"

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          2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
            Happy

            > I have, for 5 years, been posting comments everywhere, ...

            Brilliant. Thanks for the laugh.

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              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                What does that even mean? Which federal government has adopted a standard incorporating your patents?

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                  1. JohnFen Silver badge

                    Claiming things that are untrue does not increase your credibility.

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                      1. JohnFen Silver badge

                        No, I mean your claims about the "federal standard". You even admit outright that your claim is not true:

                        "I overdo it calling my discovery a Federal Standard now, because it has not yet become one. I do so for a polemical reason"

                        The rest of your claims appear highly dubious to me, but I don't think you're lying -- I think that you're just misguided.

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                          1. JohnFen Silver badge

                            " a method always giving the same result under the same circumstances"

                            That is not what makes something a standard.

                            A "federal standard" implies that it's a standard that has been formally adopted by a government. Outside of the actions of a recognized standards body, something can be called a "standard" informally if most people adhere to it as if it were a formal standard.

                            What you've detailed here (or at least the few parts that are unique) are neither, so it's not a standard at all.

                            I don't see how the definition of "delimiter" you cite is relevant. That's not a standard, that's a legal definition of a term used in a standard (and one that isn't much different than the dictionary definition of the term). I doubt that you invented the term or concept of a "delimiter".

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                              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                                "n-gram was a standard because it used to be the only one method"

                                An n-gram is not a "standard", it's a broad description of a concept.

                                "Why my AI-parsing cannot be recognized by the Government?"

                                I never said it couldn't be, I said that it isn't. You are proclaiming that it is. Even if, for the sake of argument, a standards body adopts your method as a standard in the future, it remains true that it isn't right now (as far as I can tell -- if you can point me to an adopted standard that incorporates your patents, then I'll be happy to eat my words.)

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                                  3. JohnFen Silver badge

                                    No, I don't agree.

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          3. JohnFen Silver badge

            "I have, for 5 years, been posting comments everywhere, but have not been mentioned anywhere even once."

            Perhaps that's because posting comments is not likely to expose your patents to people who might wish to use them? Also, there's the little issue that nobody will license a patent is there's an alternative method of achieving the same results that don't infringe on the patent. I don't know if that's the case with yours, of course.

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      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "That's all, AI is created. For more read my patents."

        Any decent AI would take a look at the downvotes you garner with every post and conclude that the rest of us think your claims are bollocks and that you should give up.

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            2. Blane Bramble

              You appear to have "patented" things that other people were doing 10-20 years before you.

              Well done.

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          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            What specific patent claim do you think that violates?

          2. Aussie Doc
            Pint

            You are Amanfrommars and I claim my $5 to buy one -->

  12. veti Silver badge

    So, split the Facebook app into two parts. One part, "Facebook", being the presentation layer, the other - something anonymous, like "Networking Services", being the layer that slurps data and feeds it to "Facebook".

    Alert changes to "Networking Services is trying to access your location."

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    2. spellucci

      Re: Facebook: Remember how we promised ...

      Slight modification to the two parts: one goes to /dev/null, while the other goes to /hell/in/a/handbasket.

    3. NATTtrash
      Holmes

      So, split the Facebook app into two parts.

      They already have that, right? I'm sure somebody @FB thought about drawing the (location) data they crave from WhatsApp. Works great, even if the phone has no FB on it. It's not that WA is "turned off" or "only used by a few". And since users want their messages to reach them always, everywhere, they will have it on at boot and leave it on all the time! Also, doesn't it need full access to your contacts? (Hurray!) So, that would fit, especially, if I remember well reading in elReg, when FB wants to start spewing ads through WA...

      (Still surprised that companies and governments see absolutely no issues using the thing in their communication set-ups, but hey, I suppose I'm weird...).

  13. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Alert

    "Facebook’s engineering director for stalking, Paul McDonald"

    FTFY.

  14. Andrew Jones 2

    we may try to understand your location through your internet connection....

    Please feel free to go right ahead, build up a super useful profile of me based on where you think I am from an IP2Location database.... They are super accurate, honest they are.... I promise you that I am totally in "Mill Hill" and not 296 miles further North - in a totally different country.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Mill Hill in London? 296 miles North... somewhere in the North Sea. Are you an oil rig worker? Asking for FB.

  15. Number6

    Good reason not to use Facebook from my phone. I never put their app on in the first place because I didn't want it munching through my contact list, and have avoided it like the plague ever since.

  16. Douglas Wardle

    A weird world we live in

    I used to think that the government was the enemy of the people, but now I think big tech companies are.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: A weird world we live in

      I used to think that the government was the enemy of the people, but now I think big tech companies are.

      They both are, if it suits them. They're made of people, and people behave in predictable and unsavory ways when they have power.

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

    is a navigation application.

    There are no other circumstances in which the designer of an application knowing my location is of benefit to me, as opposed to something that can be monetised by the application provider.

    Facebook is better with location. According to Facebook...

    It powers features like check-ins and makes planning events easier. Perhaps if I used FB I would know what check-ins were - the only time I do those is at an airport (or more likely, before I leave for the airport). As for planning events... um, don't I know where I am?

    It helps improve ads It makes them go away? I doubt it...

    and keep you and the Facebook community safe. From whom? Are FB users being stalked by location-sensitive predators, or something?

    Features like Find Wi-Fi You'd trust a random WiFi service with anything sensitive? And if so, how is this different from looking at the WiFi connections management details and picking one?

    and Nearby Friends "Hello, group of friends - I'm in xxx. Anyone around?"

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

      I'll add a sports/journey tracking application as well.

      It's quite nice to have a log of physical activity - certainly monitoring my commute used to give me a good indication of flare ups in my long term health condition, before they become outwardly apparent.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

        also add elderly/infirm relative tracker, and other such not-quite-999/911-emergency applications

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

      Photography adding location to exif data?

    3. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

      I recently got a blood-glucose monitor from my NHS doctor. It comes with an app (not required) that provides logging and trend analysis. This requires location information.

      Unsurprisingly, I complained. The company blamed google : this is the reason.

      The device has a bluetooth connection for data. So the app needs access to the bluetooth API. The bluetooth API also provides access to beacons etc. which might provide the app with location clues. So in order to be able to use the bluetooth API, the app requires permission to access location ..

      1. Immenseness

        Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

        "The device has a bluetooth connection for data. So the app needs access to the bluetooth API. The bluetooth API also provides access to beacons etc. which might provide the app with location clues. So in order to be able to use the bluetooth API, the app requires permission to access location .."

        Yes, I've seen this one too. Except the latest incarnation of Android on my phone takes it a step further, and in addition to having to give permission to access location, it then won't allow that access unless you also actually turn on the gps, which the app in question has not even requested, but that now all the other apps and the OS can use. No thanks.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It strikes me that the *only* application that requires my location

      possibly a good idea for banking apps to reduce fraudulent transactions

      I recently had Barclays block my ATM card (although I did have to try it in a Santander machine to find out as the Barclays machine just gave 'cannot process your transaction') because they claimed I had used the card in machines 20 miles apart within 20mins... except the 1st transaction was made at the weekend and I guess the machine was offline at the time and only came back online on the Monday 20mins before the 2nd

      (No, I don't trust banking apps... and don't even like using outside ATMs)

  18. adnim Silver badge

    “Facebook is accessing your location”

    when they don’t have the Facebook app open.

    I will worry when it tracks my location without being installed

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: “Facebook is accessing your location”

      They're working on it.

      Just figuring your mac address, and then using other people's phones to search for that mac broadcasting...

  19. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    iOS & Location Tracking

    I'm a little confused about the new settings in iOS 13. If I start Strava, and then go back to the home screen on the way to access the music app, I get a blue banner saying that Strava is using my location. Is Facebook somehow able to access location without iOS noticing?

    Clearly, I don't have Facebook installed on my iPhone..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iOS & Location Tracking

      erm... Strava is a location tracking app...

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: iOS & Location Tracking

      What are you confused about? That's the whole point of the article.

  20. TheVogon Silver badge

    Do they have informed consent to do this? Because if they don't then there will presumably be lots of hefty GDPR fines headed their way very shortly.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skype stays online too

    It's not just FB - Skype stays online too, ostensibly to ensure that messaging works.

    I'd like a setting where "OFF" means "OFF" and not "I'll just hide in the background and still grab and ship as much data as I can get away with". It's f*cking ridiculous.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Skype stays online too

      If you must have Skype, Skype Lite only starts up when you open it and stays dead when you kill it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Skype stays online too

        I found the app is at it safest if not installed at all, but I am experiencing that with almost all Microsoft products except maybe EDLIN, and they discontinued that.

  22. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The answer, in case you’re wondering, is to delete the Facebook app from your phone."

    The second best answer. The best is never to have had it there in the first place.

  23. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "...we won’t collect your precise location information when you’re not using the Facebook app.”

    "Within 10m of a wifi access point whose location we know to a centimeter" isn't precise, is it.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "...we won’t collect your precise location information when you’re not using the Facebook app.”

      Also that means they're going to collecting coarse location information (network cell IDs).

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are the script kiddies when you need them?

    We need some kind of fake mass location reporting widget to use against FB, using; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Where are the script kiddies when you need them?

      Surely that should be 1060 W Addison Street, Chicago?

  25. Loatesy

    Facebook

    Google

    Microsoft

    Apple

    Flash

    Java

    et al

    . . . and one Skynet to rule them all!!

  26. Cessquill

    Funny that - I don't use the app, but sometimes visit via the browser. Noticed this week a slew of "jobs available near you" posts. They were all in Greek and represented roughly where I was a few weeks ago. Even then it was for low-pay work in a 60 or so mile radius.

    So on the one hand they're sneaky and selling me without my knowledge. But on the other, they think a 65 mile commute to wash plates in a cafe is logical.

  27. Phil Davis
    FAIL

    Privacy attack from everywhere

    I totally agree that Facebook should not be let to receive our location or any private data. However this doesn't resolve the issue. If we still share our location with Google or Apple, we don't have any privacy. And it's not only location but all of our private data. Emails, contacts or any other data... The only way to stop private information leak is to stop using Apple or Google on our phones. We can use open source OS, like /e/ OS from e Foundation for example. It runs Android apps, but it doesn't have any Google apps and doesn't send data to Google. We can still have the comfort of a mobile phone but stop sharing our personal data.

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  28. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  29. toffer99

    If you still have a facebook account, you presumably don't give a damn about ANyBODY accessing your information. Cambridge Analytica closed down, then started up under a different name.

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