Facebook Messenger will no longer automatically share location data between users

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messneger has decided to drop some of its more stalkerish tendencies.

After being updated on Thursday, the app no longer defaults to automatically sharing a user’s location; instead, it’s now up to user to decide when they want Messenger to share that information.

Sharing one’s location is done in one of two ways: users can either share their current location or a location they’re moving towards. Choosing to do so will drop a small map into the conversation a person is having with their friend, and clicking on that map will lead to a separate window with a larger and more detailed map. Sharing a location is done by either pressing the “More” icon or the location pin at the bottom of the app’s screen.

“With this update, you have full control over when and how you share your location information. You only send a location when you tap on the location pin and then choose to send it as a separate message,” says Stan Chudnovsky, the head of product for Messenger.

As mentioned, previous versions of Messenger would automatically append location data to each and every message that was sent through the app.Marauder's MapFacebook never hid this fact, but the timing of the change is, to say the least, interesting. Last week, a student from Harvard College—and future Facebook intern—showcased a Chrome extension that scraped GPS data from the app. Called “Marauder’s Map,” (seen above) the extension was able to plot, with a high degree of accuracy, the day-to-day movements of the people the student messaged frequently.