Instagram appears to be testing a new setting which would allow it to share user location data with parent company Facebook — meaning Facebook would have a near-complete picture of your movements even if you don’t use its own app.
First spotted by researcher Jane Wong, the feature appears under Instagram’s privacy settings, buried in the fine print about Location History.
Instagram, as a "Facebook Product", is testing Facebook Location History in their app.
It allows tracking the history of precise locations from your device, now through instagram app too
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 4, 2018
Specifically, the setting say the Location History “[allows] Facebook products, including Instagram and Messenger, to build and use a history of precise locations received through Location Services on your devices.” The app would use GPS tracking to locate Instagram users even when they’re not using the app.
But don’t take my word on that last bit. Here’s the description of the service in the settings, as shown in Wong’s screenshots:
When Location History is on, Facebook will periodically add your current precise location to your Location History even if you leave the app. You can turn off Location History at any time in your Location Settings on the app. When Location History is turned off, Facebook will stop adding new information to your Location History which you can view in your Location Settings. Facebook may still receive your most recent precise location so that you can, for example, post content that’s tagged with your location.
Raise your hand if you’re surprised. After all, Instagram is a Facebook product, much as its fans would like to forget that fact. The recent departure of its founders and the appointment of Facebook stalwart Adam Mosseri have only served to bridge what was already a slim gap between the two apps.
There’s no telling when, if ever, Location History will eventually roll out. A spokesperson told TechCrunch the feature is one of many features currently in development