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Facebook struggles to convince lawmakers why it constantly needs to track your location

Facebook always knows.

mark zuckerberg standing in front of privacy text
Image: KnowTechie

Facebook has a way to find your location and send you ads regardless of what your location settings are.

In November, US Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) wrote a letter directly to Facebook co-founder (and possible android) Mark Zuckerberg. In the letter, the two men asked a lot of questions specifically about how the company can still send ads and how they can still track someone as the user barricades location services from their devices.

All very pertinent concerns with how the platform treats its users’ privacy.

Facebook officially countered with its own statement, and it’s one that people would expect. The response letter, written by Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman, reveals how it will continuously find someone.

By necessity, virtually all ads on Facebook are targeted based on location, though most commonly ads are targeted to people with a particular city or some larger region. Otherwise, people in Washington, D.C. would receive ads for services or events in London, and vice versa.

Facebook answers US lawmakers’ concerns with how it tracks users’ locations with a none-too-great response

It turns out, the company will track a person through their IP address and how they are tagging themselves, whether in pictures or check-ins to particular places. That said, Sherman insists that by using these two methods of tracking still doesn’t give the company a “precise” location.

So, they may not know exactly where you are, but they can still find you? This is even with the option to completely block Facebook from locating you.

In conclusion, it appears that there is no real way to completely eliminate Facebook from tracking your location. At least, from a user standpoint. Sen. Hawley had his own response to Sherman’s letter stating that “The American people deserve to know how tech companies use their data, and I will continue working to find solutions to protect Americans’ sensitive information.”

Keep fighting the good fight, Josh.

What do you think? How do you feel about Facebook tracking your location? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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