Facebook has admitted that it still tracks its users’ location even when “location services” on a device is turned off.
In a letter to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Facebook admitted that “even if someone does not enable Location Services, Facebook may still understand information about their location based on information that they and others provide through their activities and connections on our services.”
“For example, if someone responds to an event on Facebook for a local music festival, uploads a location-tagged post, or gets tagged by a friend in a check-in at a restaurant, these actions would give us information about that person’s likely location.”
Facebook also admitted that it uses the IP addresses of its users to determine their likely location.
The social network admitted that it uses both user activity and IP addresses to target them with ads.
“When we receive this type of location-related information, we use it to customize people’s experience, including by identifying the appropriate language based on their location, showing ads and other content relevant to the area where they are located, and to comply with legal rules, including those that prohibit us from showing certain types of advertisements in particular jurisdictions.”
On Twitter, Sen. Hawley condemned Facebook for collecting location data even when a user switches off Location Services.
.@Facebook admits it. Turn off “location services” and they’ll STILL track your location to make money (by sending you ads). There is no opting out. No control over your personal information. That’s Big Tech. And that’s why Congress needs to take action https://t.co/R1LuLcP1LP
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 17, 2019
“Facebook admits it,” said Sen. Hawley. “Turn off “location services” and they’ll STILL track your location to make money (by sending you ads). There is no opting out.”
“No control over your personal information. That’s Big Tech. And that’s why Congress needs to take action.”
Sen. Coons was also unsatisfied with Facebook’s response. In a statement, the Senator said “I appreciate Facebook’s attempts to inform users about their privacy choices. However, I am concerned that these efforts are insufficient and even misleading in light of how Facebook is actually treating user data.”
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.