FACEBOOK began alerting users Thursday that it is axing some features that amass data about users’ whereabouts.
The US social media giant says that Nearby Friends and Weather alerts will be shut down by the end of the month.
Both track location data from users’ devices to either provide weather updates or alert Facebook friends when they are close by.
Alerts, Location History, and Background Location are also “going away soon”, Facebook says in the notification.
The alert rolling out on the Facebook app for Android and iOS does not provide any detail on why the features are being removed.
“Nearby Friends and Weather alerts will no longer be available after May 31, 2022,” Facebook says.
“Information you shared that was used for these experiences, including Location History and Background Location, will stop being collected after May 31, 2022.”
This is true “even if you have previously enabled them”, the social media app adds.
Some of the data, including a map of the places you’ve visited stored under “Location History”, will be available for download until August 1.
After that, Facebook says that this data will be deleted.
The move is a step in the right direction for an app that has been criticized down the years for the way it tracks its users.
However, it does not mean that the Facebook app will stop hoarding users’ location data.
The company says that data will still be collected “for other experiences.”
Speaking to The Sun, a spokesperson for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, confirmed the plans to bin some location services.
They said that emails and in-app notifications are being sent out to ensure people have enough time to understand the changes.
Facebook has been forced to tone down its data hoovering following the introduction of new privacy policies by Apple.
Following an iPhone update in early 2020, app developers now have to ask your permission to store data on your internet activity.
Apps have engaged in data tracking for years, allowing them to store your browsing history and more for targeted advertisements.
Now, iPhone users receive pop-up notifications asking if they want specific apps to have access to that data.
Around two-thirds of iPhone fans are expected to have switched off app tracking to protect their privacy, according to AdWeek.
It threatens the coffers of free apps like Facebook and Instagram, which heavily rely on hoarding user data to generate revenue through ads.
The update also introduced a pop-up that lets iPhone users know if an app has been tracking their location in the background.
They can then select to block the app from knowing their whereabouts – a further blow to data-hungry apps.
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