Facebook gets rid of some location tracking features due to ‘low usage’

Facebook cancels several services that tracked your location in real time – including nearby friends, weather alerts, location history, and background location – due to “low usage,” he noted 9to5Mac. In a notice sent to people who have used the feature in the past, Facebook says it will stop collecting data related to those features on May 31 and will delete all data stored on August 1.

Facebook parent company Meta confirmed the news to The Verge. “While we reject some location-based features on Facebook due to low usage, people can still use location services to manage the way their location information is collected and used,” spokesman Emil Vazquez said in a statement sent by email.

However, this does not mean that Facebook will stop collecting location data at all. As noted in the user note, Facebook says it will “continue to collect location information for other experiences” in order to serve relevant ads and site reports in accordance with its data policy. You can view, download, or delete all location data saved by the platform in the Settings and Privacy menu. Otherwise, Facebook will automatically delete all stored data regarding its discontinued services on August 1.

I don’t think many of us will be sad to see these features. (Not too many people seem to rely on Facebook for weather alerts these days). Nearby Friends, introduced by Facebook in 2014, has allowed the Facebook app to share your location in real time with your friends – and vice versa – for the purpose of arranging personal gatherings with people near you. Its popularity has understandably faded over the years after similar features, such as Snapchat’s Snap Map and Apple’s Find My Friends, took over.

Since Facebook doesn’t have the best results when it comes to protecting user data, it’s actually a greater relief that Facebook has gotten rid of these location-based features. Facebook started allowing Android users to turn off background tracking in 2019 after a report found that Facebook tracked users ’locations if they made a“ credible ”threat. (Apple has already allowed users to turn off location tracking for certain apps.)

You can read the full Facebook message to users here:

Because you have previously used Friends Nearby, Weather Alerts, Location History, or Background Location, we inform you that these products and features will no longer be available after May 31, 2022. The information you shared has been used for this experience, including Location History and Background Location, will stop collecting after May 31, 2022, even if you have previously enabled them. Facebook will otherwise continue to collect location data for other experiences as described in our Data Policy.

Update your settings

You can update your current location history and background location settings in the Facebook app until May 31, 2022. After that date, the settings will be disabled.

Access to your Location History

If you want to view or delete your existing Location History, you can access your data and download your data before August 1, 2022. After that date, if you do nothing, your existing Location History information will be automatically deleted.

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