Facebook’s amidst a bit of a PR crisis after it’s been discovered that their iOS app is absolutely wrecking people’s battery lives, and it’s doing so for the worst reason imaginable: it’s tracking people’s GPS location non-stop. If there’s anything we all need more of it’s battery life in our cellphones, and Facebook appears to be making an attempt to actively drain our batteries as much as possible.
This issue was first brought to light on Thursday in a post over on Medium by Circa co-founder Matt Gilligan. In that blog post Gilligan goes on to discuss how he’s disabled background app refresh but the Facebook app continued to drain the ever living shit out of his battery (15% of his total battery usage, 3.4hrs background use). From there word began to spread that Facebook’s not really playing by the rules, and that’s when they went into PR Crisis Mode.
VICE’s Motherboard reports:
Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski analyzed the Facebook app’s code and found that the app is sending devices’ location information to Facebook in the background. “If you move around a lot,” Zdziarski wrote me in an email, “you’re likely to use more battery but the combination of GPS and networking going on in the background is likely the majority cause of battery drain.”
The reason why background refresh won’t stop the tracking, a Facebook representative told me over email, is that background refresh governs content updating—when it’s turned on, your feed will constantly be populated with content even when you’re not using the app. Location, on the other hand, is controlled by your location settings.
“We are not tracking background location if the location setting is off on your device or in the app,” the spokesperson wrote me. As for what Facebook is trying to fix, if all is indeed working according to plan here, the company spokesperson wrote that the Facebook is looking into the battery issues.
“It’s at best just another example of bad software engineering in the App Store, and Apple’s lax approach to reviewing apps for mega partners,” Zdziarski wrote. “I don’t see any evidence that anything is going on here to violate user privacy.”
Battery: not good.
Facebook: keeps getting richer.
Facebook is already rumored to be working on a fix for this GPS tracking issue that has them on hot water, but is anyone really surprised by Facebook’s ‘wait until we’re caught’ tactic of grabbing as much user data as possible, even if it costs Facebook users up to 15% of their battery life?
As for how Facebook intends to make good on this to users? This is what most are speculating, a little bit of this…
Followed by a little bit of this….