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Applications with permission to access location service can collect your real-time location secretly, even when you do not use them. Installing the Facebook application on your Android or iOS automatically gives Facebook your rightful consent to collect your precise location.

If you are not aware, there is a setting called “Location History” in your Facebook app that comes enabled by default. Every time you turn ON location service setting on your smartphone, let’s say for using Uber or Google Maps, Facebook starts tracking your location.

You should turn Location History option OFF from the app settings to prevent Facebook from collecting your location data, even when the app is in use. Unfortunately, disabling this option would also break some Facebook features that rely on location data like checking into a nearby location, tagging locations in an uploaded photo or while using Nearby Friends, a feature that lets friends share their locations with each other.

facebook location history background

People using Facebook on Android have an all-or-nothing option when it comes to location sharing, which means either they have to grant Facebook full access to their location data or completely prevent the social network from seeing your location at all, without any option for accessing your location data only when the app is open.

How to Stop Facebook From Tracking You

Facebook has finally introduced a new privacy setting to its Android app. Here’s how you can prevent Facebook from tracking your location when the app is not in use:

  • Open the Facebook app on your Android smartphone
  • Go to the Settings menu on the top right corner (looks like this ☰)
  • Tap on Settings & Privacy
  • Choose Privacy Shortcuts
  • Select Manage your location settings
  • Now, toggle “Background Location” to OFF

If you enable this setting, two things will happen—”you would share your location when you weren’t using the app, and you would allow Facebook to store a history of your precise locations.”

“We’re not making any changes to the choices you’ve previously made nor are we collecting any new information as a result of this update,” Facebook’s post reads.

“For people who previously chose to turn their Location History setting ‘on,’ the new background location setting is ‘on.’ For people who had turned Location History ‘off’ – or never turned it on in the first place – the new background location setting is ‘off.'”

Facebook gives users a dedicated way to choose whether or not to share their location when they are not using the social media app. iOS users need not worry about such features, as Apple already offers iPhone users an option to block an app from using their location in the background when the app is not open. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings
  • Select Privacy
  • Choose “Location Services”
  • If you want to completely stop all apps from tracking you, turn Location Services off. If you want to limit this setting depending on every app, tap each app and choose “Never” or “While Using.”

Make sure apps that don’t require your location, like most games, photo sharing apps and editors, are set to “Never.”

Dawood Khan
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of 'Hack Hex,' Information Security professional, developer, whitehat hacker and an amateur guitarist.

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