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Privacy change for Android: Facebook can no longer freely track your data

Privacy change for Android: Facebook can no longer freely track your data

Alex Sagal

At the Google’s I/O 2021 event the company announced a privacy change for Android 12. App developers will have to ask users whether they want to be tracked by nearby device tracking.

Proximity marketing is a technique used by Facebook: if a user is out in a shopping mall, Facebook knows it, so the brand partners can show location-based ads. Facebook can track the location even if a user has disabled GPS using Bluetooth to track other nearby devices, like smartphones, wearables, or beacons. If another person has Facebook installed on their app and has GPS enabled, Facebook can then also figure your location.

That’s why we can see promos and discount coupons in our newsfeed after visiting a clothing store.

Android 12 gives the app developers a choice to explicitly deny location access by introducing new permission for Bluetooth scanning. A popup will ask users whether they “allow to find, connect to, and determine relative position of nearby devices”. Most users will most likely choose the "no" option.

Privacy change for Android 12

With Google and Apple bolstering up the privacy in Android 12 and iOS 14, Facebook can no longer freely track data as earlier.