Facebook Explains iOS 8 App Privacy Changes - InformationWeek

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Facebook Explains iOS 8 App Privacy Changes

Despite tweaks to a privacy setting in iOS 8, Facebook says it's not tracking you any more than it already has been.

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Facebook wants to make one thing clear about the updated version of its app in iOS 8: Though the language in one privacy setting has changed, don't worry -- it doesn't track you any more than it already did.

In previous versions of Apple's iOS, Facebook users could choose from two settings for Location Services: On or Off. Apple changed these permission options in iOS 8, which means Facebook must do the same for users who turned on Location Services for features like Nearby Friends. This feature tracks the approximate location of you and your friends even when you're not actively using the app, which is why it requires background tracking.

The new Location Services choices include Always, While Using the App, or Never. For Facebook users who previously set Location Services to On, the new setting will read Always, since the other two options would render Nearby Friends useless.

[Popular social apps may track your every move. Read Location Tracking: 6 Social App Settings To Check.]

Facebook explained the changes in a new blog post and reiterated that, despite the verbiage, it does not collect any new location information when you upgrade to iOS 8. It also reminded users that it receives location information only if Location Services is enabled.

"Facebook does not get location information from your device in the background (that is, while you're not using the app) unless you give us permission by turning on a feature that requires this, like Nearby Friends," Facebook product management director Adam Mosseri said in the post. "Also, if you choose to turn on a feature like this, you'll always be able to use your Facebook settings to control whether Facebook gets your location information in the background."

For other apps from Facebook that don't have features that rely on information in the background -- such as Messenger and Instagram -- Mosseri said that the Location Services setting for the iOS 8 versions will be set to "While Using the App."

If you use Nearby Friends or have used it in the past, check your privacy settings to see what's enabled. Find Nearby Friends in the More option within the Facebook app, and then tap the settings icon in the top right corner. If you no longer use Nearby Friends, turn the feature off.

Because Nearby Friends requires background location tracking, you can also turn this feature off by disabling Location History. In the Nearby Friends settings page, tap Location Settings, and then turn off Location History. This will stop Facebook from building a history of your precise location even when you're not using the app.

If you used Nearby Friends in the past and want to delete the locations Facebook stored, visit the Activity Log from your desktop and click More, then Location History. Click the delete button next to the location you want to remove, and then select Delete from the dropdown menu. To clear your entire location history, click Clear Location History at the top of the page.

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
11/30/2014 | 6:27:28 PM
Re: Different options for different people?
Curious -- did the issue correct itself or are you still missing the various settings?
User Rank: Apprentice
11/6/2014 | 11:45:04 PM
Different options for different people?
This article generated more questions than it answered.

Specifically, what happens when Nearby Friends option is not available on the More menu on an iPhone (running iOS8)? Or what happens if the Location History option is not displayed when More is clicked on the Activity Log on a desktop?

I've been trying to work out why my iPhone doesn't allow the Only While Using the App option for Location Services for Facebook, when I am running the latest version of the app on the latest version of iOS on an iPhone 5. I've gone down many rabbit holes (including the non-existent Nearby Friends option, comparing every Facebook and iPhone setting I can think of with another iPhone that seems to have the options, trawling through forum after forum - all of which have assumed options appear where they don't necessarily). And I'm not alone, forums seem to be full of people who have noticed differences in available options on Facebook, even on similar devices using same versions.

So now Location Services is turned off fully for Facebook, until one day perhaps the missing option will magically appear.
User Rank: Ninja
9/21/2014 | 10:38:35 AM
Re: Facebook Explains iOS 8 App Privacy Changes
These "updates" do bring some improvement, but always seem to come with their fair share of bugs. Last update, I was unable to type comments on Facebook because the keyboard covered the comment box. Did this happen to anyone else?
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