Facebook, the social media giant, is a persistent tracker. But the Meta-owned platform is trying to change that, a bit.
This is because Meta is quietly changing the way it uses Location Services in Facebook, by depreciating several of the app's local-based functions. The trackers Facebook is shutting down, include Nearby Friends, weather alerts, location history and background location.
In a more detailed explanation of the change, Meta said that these services shall no longer be available after May 31st, 2022.
After that date, the company shall stop collecting the information through those four features, even if users have previously enabled them.
Going forward, Meta also said that all of users previously logged information relating to these functions shall be deleted on August 1st, 2022.
As you can see in this example notification, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra, users are now being alerted to the update in their Facebook notifications stream.
According to Meta:
What this means, Meta is eliminating the features because people don't really care about these features anymore.
In a way that many people who use other of Meta's products like WhatsApp and Instagram can easily share their locations through their content, Facebook in shutting down the four features does make sense.
What's more, Facebook's reach has gone way beyond its apps, that tracking can still continue even without the four features.
Meta’s not known for giving up user data so easily, especially because its business relies on that.
Meta has chosen to depreciate these additional insights because it knows what it's doing.
As a tech company, Meta is known to experiment a lot.
In 2021, it was reported that Facebook's app had started using device accelerometer data as an alternate means of pinpointing user location. This allows Facebook to track even those iOS users who had opted out of location tracking via Apple’s App Tracking Transparency update.
Because the platform's engineers realized that device accelerometer can be used for tracking, they have also found a way to use that information to also match up location information, to ultimately profile users based on even their activities.
But regardless of that, Meta is under pressure to end the practice of persistently tracking people.
Meta, and also Google, have both faced significant fines over user data tracking.
And by removing some of its tracking features can help Meta deal with future legal issues.