New Facebook app to track offline users – report
Posted in the Brasher Falls Forum
#1 Feb 5, 2013
Those concerned about Facebook’s controversial privacy policies may have yet another reason to worry. The social network is reportedly developing a smartphone application which will track the location of its users – even when the app isn't running.
The app is scheduled to be released in mid-March, two anonymous sources told Bloomberg.
It’s allegedly designed to help users find nearby friends by revealing those friends’ locations. But unlike Facebook’s current mobile app, which allows users to let others know where they are by “checking in” at a location, the new app would continuously follow the user once the program is activated.
The app would track user whereabouts in the “background” of Apple’s mobile operating system – even when the app isn’t open on the phone, one of the sources said. It remains unclear whether the app will run on other platforms.
It’s a technique that would likely require the social networking site to ask permission from users. But there’s a loophole – Facebook may have already gotten consent from its users to run the feature.
The app may fall under Facebook’s data policy – which tells users that a company may use location information “to tell you and your friends about people or events nearby, or to offer deals to you that you might be interested in.”
“When we get your GPS location, we put it together with other location information we have about you (like your current city)…but we only keep it until it is no longer useful to provide you services, like keeping your last GPS coordinates to send you relevant notifications,” the data use policy says.
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