Business Essentials for Professionals


User's Precise Location Is Never Shared, Claims Instagram

User's Precise Location Is Never Shared, Claims Instagram
Instagram has denied viral claims that location markings on content can reveal users' exact locations. According to viral posts and videos, a "precise location" toggle in iOS and Android app location settings could share someone's exact location with other Instagram users.
According to some viral posts, this was the result of an Instagram or iOS update.
However, Instagram stated that this is not the case and that the feature does not share users' locations with other users.
The setting was first made available to iPhone and iOS device users in 2020 as part of Apple's annual operating system update, iOS 14. Google released it for Android 12 in 2021. It allows users to provide a more precise location to certain apps.
While it is now considered a controversial feature by some, it was initially praised as a way to improve user privacy on mobile devices because it provides an alternative to the blanket application of location services.
When users grant apps permission to access their location, the setting is automatically enabled. When precise location is disabled in an app, only an approximate location is identified and used.
Users who allow apps like Instagram to access their location will see the precise location toggle in their settings.
When enabled in an app's location settings, it allows them to pinpoint an exact location using GPS for specific purposes, such as travel or collecting background and private user data.
Its application varies from app to app.
While Uber may use it to pinpoint your location when booking a ride, Snapchat uses it for Snap Map, which allows users to show their location on a map to other users if they have granted the app permission or are not in private "ghost mode."
According to some of the viral posts, people can find your exact location when sharing your location on posts or Stories due to a new iOS or Instagram update.
They also stated that even if users post a general location of a city, people will be able to see your exact location as a pin on a map.
They went on to say that criminals are using this feature to target people online, particularly influencers. The claims spread in the form of infographics, viral TikToks, and memes, with some urging users to disable precise location on Instagram immediately.
Instagram did not respond to BBC News' request for comment on the claims, but did tweet a clarification about how the setting is used.
"To be clear, we don't share your location with others. Similar to other social media companies, we use precise location for things like location tags and maps features," added its PR team, InstagramComms.
When attempting to add a geotag to an Instagram Story or post, users who have precise location enabled will see options for locations closer to them.
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri quoted the company's response, stating that location services are a device setting on phones, not a new Instagram feature.
"We don't share your location with other people," he added.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc