Facebook already knows who all of your friends are, when you broke up with your last girlfriend/boyfriend and what you did or wish you didn’t do on spring break last year. But if that wasn’t enough, Facebook may soon be tracking you at all times.
Bloomberg reported on Monday that Facebook is “developing a smartphone application that will track the location of users … even when the program isn’t open on a handset.” The purpose of such an app is to help Facebookers find friends when they’re out and about. Such an app, Bloomberg said, could be used to sell ads based off of where users go. It’s something that will be of huge value to advertisers, but may not go down easy with users for obvious privacy reasons.
Yes, the thought of Facebook knowing where you’re spending the rest of your time that you’re not wasting on the social networking site is a disturbing thought, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Facebook users have already been voluntarily “Checking-In” to the social networking site to update statuses with a current location. This new app will take this idea into a more extreme direction and remove the voluntary part of the equation. It will be interesting to see what users are OK with Facebook knowing where they are some of the time, but not all of the time. Then there’s similar apps by Apple and Google that track and record user’s locations in order to share with friends.
In an effort to increase its mobile product, while also increasing revenue across all platforms, a Facebook tracking app makes a lot of sense — though it may be better for the social networking site’s advertisers rather than its users.
The most disturbing part of Bloomberg’s report is that Facebook may have already gained permission from its users to run such an application. This would mean that there would be no notification asking if Facebook could use your location, which all apps must do in accordance with Apple’s.
This app is scheduled for release around mid-march.