Instagram Testing Feature That Shares Precise Location History with Facebook

Instagram is currently testing a feature that would allow it to share your location data with Facebook, even when you’re not using the app.

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong (via TechCrunch) explains that the prototype Instagram system could allow Facebook to “periodically add your current precise location to your Location History even if you leave the [Instagram] app,” according to the setting’s “Learn more” button. The data would help Facebook target users with more relevant ads and content.

The option, which Wong notes is being tested as a setting you have to opt-in to, allows Facebook products to “build and use a history of precise locations” which the company says “helps you explore what’s around you, get more relevant ads and helps improve Facebook.” When activated, the service will report your location “even if you leave the app.”

Here’s the full description of the new feature being tested:

Location History is a setting that allows Facebook to build a history of precise locations received through Location Services on your device. 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. Location History helps you explore what’s around you, get more relevant ads, and helps improve Facebook. Location History must be turned on for some location feature to work on Facebook, including Find Wi-Fi and Nearby Friends.

It’s not yet clear if Instagram plans to launch the feature or whether it would be switched on for users by default.

“We haven’t introduced updates to our location settings,” an Instagram spokesman said. “As you know, we often work on ideas that may evolve over time or ultimately not be tested or released. Instagram does not currently store Location History; we’ll keep people updated with any changes to our location settings in the future.”

Meanwhile, developer Jane Machun Wong shared a number of screenshots via Twitter that showcases the Location History feature. As per the images, Instagram’s location sharing capability is located in the Privacy and Security settings of Facebook.

The move comes just days after the social media app’s founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger abruptly resigned due to “tensions” with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over the direction of their business.