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9/18/2014
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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.



10 Tech Terms Millennials Don't Know
10 Tech Terms Millennials Don't Know
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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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