Facebook said it isn’t using location data anymore for suggesting new friends, something that amounts to breaching user’s privacy.
Facebook seems to have landed itself in some fiasco after it confirmed twice to Fusion that it did rely on location information to suggest new friends.
However, that has since changed so that the official stand prevailing at the moment is that the company is no longer recommending new friends based on the user’s location information. That being said, the company also explained it did use location information to suggest new friends though the ‘experiment’ carried out last year was restricted to a small group of users only.
The social media company later confirmed the experiment has now been abandoned citing confusion that it caused to its communication division. Experts though claim the real reason for Facebook to dissociate location information from its new friend suggestion feature is that it amounted to a severe breach of individual privacy. Further, continuing with the practice might have even led Facebook to run into trouble with the FTC as well.
“We’re not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We may show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you’ve imported and other factors.”
Facebook sources further mentioned they rely on such information as “mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you’ve imported and many other factors” to suggest new friends to a user. Clearly, location data has been part of the ‘many other factors’ Facebook sources mentioned until those have been amended.
The above controversy comes at a time when it wasn’t too long ago that Facebook had run into another issue concerning user’s privacy. That was about its access to the mobile’s microphone that led many to suspect the social media giant might have been listening to user’s conversation for serving more targeted ads.
Fortunately for Facebook, its PR team then had handled the situation better claiming its policy for displaying ads has nothing to do with what users are saying out loud on its handsets. There were no flip-flops then as is evident in the current scenario.
Nevertheless, users still have the option to tick off location among the features Facebook is permitted to have access to. To do that, one will have to tap on Setting > Apps > Facebook > Permissions and tap on Location to toggle it off if it isn’t already.