Facebook is tracking a user’s smartphone location in the “People You May Know” feature to suggest friends, says a report on Fusion. The social media giant, however, says detecting the location is only a part of how suggesting friends to a user.
Fusion.net has done a story saying Facebook was likely tracking the GPS location data from a users’ smartphones to suggest friends people. The report points out, “your friend suggestions could include someone whose face you know, but whose name you didn’t until Facebook offered it up to you,” points out the report.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed they will use the location to suggest friends. The statement to Fusion reads , “People You May Know are people on Facebook that you might know. We show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you’re part of, contacts you’ve imported and many other factors. You might occasionally see people you don’t know or don’t want to be friends with.”
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Facebook stressed that location alone was not the sole factor in determining a friend suggestion, saying that the two people must have had something else in common, such as overlapping networks.
“That’s why location is only one of the factors we use to suggest people you may know,” said the Facebook spokesperson.
Users can, however choose to stop seeing friend suggestions based on locations by taking away location access from the Facebook app in iOS. Android M also lets users control location access for Facebook.
This is not the first time that report of Facebook intruding one’s privacy has come to light. The Independent recently reported Facebook might be listening to users’ conversations to show related ads in their News Feed.
Facebook had, however, denied the allegations and issued a statement saying it only uses microphone when given access.