It’s that time of the week when we reveal another shocking story about Facebook’s ongoing battle with controversial security and privacy issues. This time, it has been found that the Facebook application is tapping into users’ Bluetooth connection.
New permissions discovered in iOS 13
A number of Apple customers who have downloaded the new iOS 13 (iPhone and iPad Operating System) software update have discovered that they are now being prompted to allow Facebook access to their device’s wireless Bluetooth connection. This is likely due to a change in the upcoming software update.
Apple’s latest iOS 13 update is being trialled with some users before it’s due to be made live tomorrow, 19th September 2019. Among the changes included within the update is a major overhaul of ‘Find My iPhone’, which is being rebranded to simply ‘Find My’. As part of the application overhaul, you’ll be able to track your phone’s location via Bluetooth, which could be why we’re now seeing these permissions arise.
However, people are understandably concerned about the sudden prompt for Facebook to track their location given that it hasn’t been asked of them in the past. And perhaps they’re right to be concerned about such a request given the sheer volume of controversial security issues faced by the social media giant in the past year or so.
Shockingly, Facebook can still siphon your location data when the application is closed. However, if you deny the request or disable it directly within the Settings application, then the company will be unable to track your whereabouts.
It’s possible that Facebook were expecting this backlash, as only last week the company issued the following statement:
‘Facebook is better with location. It powers features like check-ins and makes planning events easier. It helps improve ads and keep you and the Facebook community safe. Features like Find Wi-Fi and Nearby Friends use precise location even when you’re not using the app to make sure that alerts and tools are accurate and personalised for you.’Paul McDonald, Engineering Director at Facebook
However, a leading website in the tech space called TechCrunch has said that the advantages of accessing a user’s location could be far more wide-reaching. The data could, for example, supposedly be used within Facebook’s upcoming dating app to match people together within a locale without the users being aware.
If you want to turn off Facebook’s access to Bluetooth when iOS 13 lands, then you can simply open the Settings application, navigate to the Facebook app and disable if from there. Otherwise, if you get stuck, give WiseGuys a call on 0808 123 2820 and we can talk you through the process.