Facebook cannot make up its mind: is the social network using your location to make you suggestions of new friends or not? The answer to this very important privacy question seems to change by the day.
A Fusion report from this week pointed out that Facebook was indeed using data location and also explained the potential security mishaps that this practice could lead to.
Mark Zuckerberg’s platform could oust people in situations that are supposed to remain anonymous – such as going to AA meetings, something that might show up on the location data Facebook has access to.
Never mind the outrage of having your profile suggested to that creeper ogling you on the bus this morning. The Fusion report was backed up by a Facebook spokesperson who said that this practice was familiar to the social network.
In an unusual PR snafu for a Silicon Valley company, Facebook soon reversed its statement on the matter saying that location is not one of the factors used to create friend recommendations.
The official story was changed again shortly after when it was revealed that Facebook had indeed conducted last year a city-wide experiment using location for recommending new friends but discontinued the project.
So what happened? What’s the answer to the question now? The current position adopted by Facebook is that the experiment is the one that caused confusion in the communication team, which ended up reporting faulty information to Fusion.
Evidently, there’s also the possibility that Facebook was indeed using location data for friend suggestions but quickly backpedaled when the practice was deemed a violation of privacy.
Because Facebook won’t let us poke around in the secret factors that result with making friend recommendations, we can’t really know how they get made. Either way, the company’s official stance is that your location data is definitely not a part of it.
“We’re not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We may show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you’ve imported and other factors.”
Image Source: Sophos News