After confirming two times that Facebook uses location data to suggest friends, the company`s officials retract the previous statements. In a formal comment, Facebook mentioned that the usage of details such as the information location added on your profile page and device location are not included in the algorithm behind this feature.
As per the official narrative, Facebook ran a brief test last year using location to suggest friends. However, at this moment, the mechanism behind their algorithm does not incorporate information people share on their pages about their location or device location data.
For many years, Facebook`s accuracy to suggest friends surprised many of this platform`s users. However, until recently, the company did not reveal how this feature works.
In an official declaration, Facebook`s spokesperson mentioned that one of the main criteria the company takes into account whenever it suggests friends includes data such as mutual friends, educational background and work information. The statement added a reference to some vague other factors that were not specifically named.
Commenting on the particular case of two people who happened to be in the same place one night only to discover each other the next day in the Facebook section “People You May Know,” the spokesperson said the following:
“Location information by itself doesn’t indicate that two people might be friends. That’s why location is only one of the factors we use to suggest people you may know”.
The fact that Facebook uses location to suggest friends should not come as a surprise because last year they got more aggressive in their attempt to improve their ads system. Since last year, businesses can select an option to target their advertisements and publicity campaigns to those who were recently in a particular location.
However, the implications of Facebook`s advertising algorithm are not as severe as the implications involved by the friends suggestions feature. Since people want to keep some of the visits secret, the fact that Facebook uses location data may be worrisome.
Geolocation data is a lot more sensitive than other information people provide online. However, to prevent any potential troubling scenario, experts recommend turning off Facebook`s access to your data location information. Typically, the privacy settings menu of any smartphone should include this option.
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