Facebook changes how it handles user location data settings in response to Android, iOS updates
For Android 10 devices, Facebook will follow the most restrictive setting selected by the user.
With the release of Android 10 and iOS 13, Facebook is updating how its user location settings work. Both Android and iOS are rolling out new features to give users more control over how they manage their locations settings at the device level and within the individual apps being used on a device. In response, Facebook is changing how users manage their locations data within the Facebook app.
Facebook’s app on Android 10. Before this most recent of Android’s operating system, Android devices included an on/off switch that controlled an app’s access to the device’s precise location. With Android 10, users will now be able to allow individual apps access to location data when the app is being used and when it is inactive.
This new Android 10 setting could conflict with the background location setting within the Facebook app. To resolve the issue, Facebook will follow the most restrictive setting selected by the user.
“For example, if your device location setting is set to ‘all of the time,’ but your Facebook background location setting is off, we won’t collect your precise location information when you’re not using the Facebook app,” writes Facebook’s Engineering Director of Location Platforms Paul McDonald.
Facebook is also going to begin to phase out its background location setting on Android 10 and will remind users via notifications to check their device location settings.
New location setting for iOS 13. With the release of iOS 13, users will now have an added fourth location setting “allow once” which gives an app temporary permission to access a device’s location only once. This setting is in addition to the previous settings: “always,” “only when the app is in use,” or “never.”
Anyone using the Facebook app — and any other apps that access location data — on an iOS device will now begin to receive notifications when an app is using their precise location and how many times the app has accessed the information.
“The notification will also include a map of the location data an app has received and an explanation of why the app uses that type of location information,” writes McDonald.
Facebook said it will still collect location data via user activities such as check-ins, events and internet connection information, but this a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of data it can collect based purely on where the app — or device — is being used. As users become more aware of how their location data is being used — and take more control over what information they’re willing to share — marketers will have to be more savvy with their ad targeting measures and find news ways to engage audiences beyond location-based ad filters.