Facebook app forces GPS


Am I okay with Facebook gathering my GPS information and not letting me to disable it?

Poll closed Jan 27, 2013.
  1. Yes, I don't mind if they have my location information at any time.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Yes, I want them to have my location information.

    1 vote(s)
    12.5%
  3. No, I don't want them gathering my location information at any time.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. No, I don't want them utilizing my GPS without my permission.

    7 vote(s)
    87.5%
  1. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    I noticed GPS was randomly going on and off while the Facebook app was running, but not after I left it. There's no option to disable it (just for Messenger). This is ridiculous. I was glad all the broo-haha about GPS tracking on apps because Apple and other companies did the right thing, but Facebook appears to not care and is snubbing legislation against it too from what I've heard. I've already wrote them and said I may talk to a state representative, but I don't understand why people aren't up in arms about it when they were when Apple and Google were doing it.

    Is there a way to disable it? GPS is a big battery drain and privacy issue. I use nothing on there that requires GPS and I've disabled everything in all Facebook apps that use it and it's still tracking my location. Why does Facebook need this, how do I turn it off, and what do we do about it if they won't give us an option to disable it?

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  2. Mr. Lucky

    Mr. Lucky Well-Known Member Contributor

    It's not a Facebook thing, and it's only active when needed. It's happening because you have"Use GPS satellites" enabled in your phone (under Location and security). It's not a big deal, and it only impacts battery when it is actively acquiring acquiring the satellite. Simply having it enabled has no effect on battery life.
  3. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    You didn't read what I wrote. I wrote that it only happens when I'm using the Facebook app and not when I exit out to the homescreen. It's consistent. I go into the Facebook app, the GPS icon in the Android notification bar (left side) randomly goes on and off, and when I exit to the homescreen, it doesn't come back on again. If it's on when I exit, it immediately turns off. This is obviously the Facebook app gathering location information.
  4. fdbryant3

    fdbryant3 Well-Known Member

    If you turn off your GPS (more accurately, if you turn off access to the GPS) then Facebook cannot use it.

    As for why people were outraged about the Apple tracking it was because they were keeping a log of the GPS data without permission or an explained reason. On the other hand to install the Facebook app you agree to a set of permissions that includes location information. You don't like it, uninstall Facebook - or turn off GPS.
  5. Mr. Lucky

    Mr. Lucky Well-Known Member Contributor

    Don't tell me what I read. You just don't understand the answer. Yes, of COURSE it's happening when you're in Facebook... for the reason I stated. Disable "Use GPS satellites" and it won't happen. Sorry, but there is no way to selectively disable it for Facebook only.
  6. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    I did understand the answer, which was that it won't happen if I turn off GPS... well that wasn't the point. The point is that the app always checks GPS, doesn't need it, and won't let me disable that "feature". I leave GPS on as a matter of convenience for other apps that require it and no other apps I use that don't require it try to use it... if they do and I can't disable that "feature" I uninstall them. Other apps I use that turn it on are location-necessary (like Maps or Foursquare) to do what I'm intending to do. There's nothing I do with Facebook that requires a location so I should have that option to turn the "feature" off.

    Aside from this, I did discover what they do with that information, and it is to post on your timeline where you were when you accessed the Facebook app on your Android phone (I'm not sure if it does this on iOS), which I will post a screenshot of in a subsequent post. I'm really not happy about it and have disabled the app because of this and the fact that they're trying to get me to download an update outside of the Google Play store. They are really starting to look nefarious to me.
  7. oOMavrikOo

    oOMavrikOo Well-Known Member

    No way to disable Facebook location without disabling GPS. Just quit using Facebook or use a third party Facebook app.
  8. nicka3200

    nicka3200 Well-Known Member

    The problem with using a 3rd party app is that some Facebook users block 3rd party apps from viewing their posts within their Facebook security settings.
  9. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    Here's a picture of what Facebook posted on my timeline:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    That's every location I'd opened the Facebook app at within at least the last week. This was recorded and posted without notifying me, telling me what it would do, or giving me the option to prevent it. Not happy about it.
  10. gale65

    gale65 Well-Known Member

    Would it do the same if you used facebook's mobile site in a browser? That's how I use facebook (I put a bookmark on my home screen) but I don't have gps turned on all the time.
  11. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    Well that's weird. My Facebook doesn't post my location even if I open it at random places. I do have messenger location services turned off in Facebook settings though, so it won't broadcast my location when I send a message.

    The only places in my Timeline that has a "log" on Facebook are places I actually checked into, or posted something about that place.
  12. Stuntman

    Stuntman Well-Known Member

    I checked my settings. I always noticed the GPS icon appearing in the notification screen when I launch FB. It posts my location in my timeline.

    I looked through the settings and I found that location services is turned off on my FB app. However, on my FB Messenger app, it is turned on. I turned it off now and now that GPS icon no longer shows. It's pretty weird that I have to turn it off on both places (FB and FBM).

    Update: Just noticed the GPS icon still turning on briefly when I launch FB. Back to square 1.
  13. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor Guide

    It also flashes in my case, but it doesn't post my location for everybody to see, so I don't mind it flashing for like 3 seconds.
  14. admile3

    admile3 Well-Known Member

    I noticed mine would do that too, even though location services were turned to "off" in the Facebook settings. I did a bit of digging, and might have found out how to get it to stop (at least, it works on my device, a Droid DNA)

    Check the Facebook App, make sure Location Services is "Off". Also make sure to do this in the Messenger App. Location Services to "Off". Then, in the settings of the Facebook App, under settings, UNcheck next to where it says "Chat Availability". If you have the Messenger App, there is no reason to have the Chat Availability checked, and I'm pretty sure that having that checked is allowing it to check on your location, as if "Location Services" were marked "ON" in the messenger app.

    When I opened the FB app, I went straight in and turned it off as my GPS icon was flashing as though it was aquiring a location. As soon as I unchecked it, the icon disappeared, and hasnt show up since on multiple openings and closings of the FB app.

    Hope this helps!
  15. miediev

    miediev Well-Known Member

    You could install LBE Privacy Guard to stop Facebook or any other app you choose from gaining your location information. It can selectively block specific requests from specific apps and is highly-configurable. I've been using it for as long as I've had an android phone, it's always one of the first apps I install.

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lbe.security.lite

    There's another version called LBE Security Master. It works in JB and has many more features, only there's not an officialy translated English version. There is a thread on XDA where some people have translated it into English and several other languages:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1422479
  16. BigRedGonzo

    BigRedGonzo Well-Known Member

    Go to settings in Facebook app and tap Messenger Location Services, uncheck the checkbox and the annoying GPS feature should stop. It did for me.

    BigRedGonzo
  17. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    No, viewing it in the mobile browser will not access GPS, so I will try it with a bookmark on my home screen.
  18. dhinged

    dhinged Well-Known Member

    Thank you, I will try that.
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