Updated on December 15th, 2021
Facebook has already admitted to capturing your exact location using the metadata from your photos and your IP address. Even when you disable location tracking, the tech giant's app keeps a tab on your location. To add to this abuse of privacy, security researchers have now found that Facebook goes one step beyond to track its users' location on Apple's iPhone.
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A video posted on Twitter by a researcher Mysk illustrates how all iOS apps can access accelerometer data of phones to pinpoint locations of the users. He showed Facebook as an example in the video, which is constantly tracking the accelerometer data when its being used.
The accelerometer on iPhones can track your movements continuously, which is then used to monitor your activities during the day. However, these apps can only access the data if its is actively running in the foreground. The accelerometer data can detect if you are walking, sitting, cycling, etc; count your steps, figure your heart rate, find your precise location and analyze sound vibrations of your phone speaker and infer what you are listening to.
"Apps can access the accelerometer without any system permission and without the user being aware," stated Mysk. "If you don't allow Facebook access to your location, the app can still infer your exact location only by grouping you with users matching the same vibration pattern that your phone accelerometer records. For example, if you are on the bus and a passenger is sharing their precise location with Facebook, Facebook can easily tell that you are in the same location as the passenger. Both vibration patterns are going to be identical, e.g. the bus suddenly stops or takes off," he added.
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