According to a private source from Facebook Inc, the social media corporation plans to release a location-tracker app in mid-March. This application is designed to help users track each other’s location, regardless if the program is up and running on the device.
This sounds pretty scary, right? I know, I’m terrified already. But wait, there’s more.
Not only is this app for users, but people speculate that Facebook will utilize this location-data to sell advertisements to companies based on the user’s daily habits. For example: If you are constantly going out to shop at the mall, advertisers would recognize these patterns, and bombard your device with clothing sales and advertisements. In addition to this, the app can also determine when, and how often you shop, then send you ads accordingly. This technology could potentially be a “game-changer” for marketers in their efforts to target customers. It would immediately filter out customers who don’t shop, and allow advertisers to focus efforts on those who do.
It is disconcerting to think that my personal information could potentially be sold without my knowledge.
Although this is a new development, currently, any activity on Facebook is already tracked by GPS. For instance, when a Facebook user updates their status, posts a picture, or checks into a location, their coordinates are automatically recorded.
I know what all of you are thinking, “Wow, this is an invasion of my privacy!” This is the exact thought that ran through my head.
How is Facebook allowed to do this? Well just like Apple, Facebook will probably bury a consent clause deep in the fine print that nobody ever bothers to read. So, the next time you see an obnoxiously long policy, before you click “accept,” take the time to at least skim the document.
Anyway, just like you probably already are, many others will be hesitant to download the app. To add insult to injury, this program is expected to drain your device’s battery. When GPS and push notifications are activated, it does a number to the battery life. Imagine this 24/7 tracking app running all day. I’m sure your device will be begging for a charge in no time. Hey, maybe Facebook can come out with a travel charger to keep your device (and tracking app) up and running! Now there’s a business opportunity! But I digress…
Do yourself a favor and protect yourself. Who knows, maybe the best solution is to avoid downloading the soon-to-be app altogether.
Robert works for Phoenix TS – a cyber security training company headquartered in Columbia, MD.
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