By Aaron Kesel
Three creepy Facebook patent applications describe using your historical location data — and others’ — to determine where users will go next or when they will be offline to feed FB content.
BuzzFeed reports that Facebook has filed several patents with the US Patent and Trademark Office for technology that is intended to predict your location.
The first application filed on May 30, 2017, titled “Offline Trajectories,” describes a process to predict where Facebook users will go next based on location data. The technology outlined in the patent would calculate a “transition probability based at least in part on previously logged location data associated with a plurality of users who were at the current location.”
The second more worrying privacy invasive Facebook patent application titled “Location Prediction Using Wireless Signals on Online Social Networks” illustrates how tracking the strength of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, and near-field communication (NFC) signals could be used to estimate current location in order to anticipate where its app users would go next.
This “background signal” information would then be used as an alternative to GPS because, as the patent describes, it may provide “the advantage of more accurately or precisely determining a geographic location of a user.”
The third patent instead of predicting offline would predict user movements while they were “online,” either connected to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or a cell tower.
The application titled “Predicting Locations and Movements of Users Based on Historical Locations for Users of an Online System,” further details how location data from multiple users of its platform would be used to harvest location and movement trends, to in turn model location connections. According to the patent application, these could then be used for a “variety of applications,” including “advertising to users based on locations and for providing insights into the movements of users.”
Essentially, Facebook would be able to have ads pop up if you were near one of their participating retail or fast food partners using this.
Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison argues that it’s just a concept to BuzzFeed, “We often seek patents for the technology we never implement, and patent applications — such as this one — should not be taken as an indication of future plans.”
However, given all the recent scandals surrounding Facebook and mishandling of data, even just a concept is a worrying prospect.
This comes as Facebook has removed 800+ anti-establishment pages, while shadow banning numerous others, including silencing alternative news organizations like The Free Thought Project, Anti-Media, and others. Individuals’ voices, free speech and hard work is being censored more and more every day on the platform. It’s important to caution readers that real people are being affected by this push to silence dissent. To make matters worse for the social media giant, its journalist partners’ fact checkers have begun speaking out and want to distance themselves from the company, The Guardian reported.
REMINDER: Facebook took down over 800 anti-establishment pages in October.
That includes the Anti-Media, Police the Police, and the Free Thought Project.
— Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) December 13, 2018
In essence, there is a general consensus that the “fact checkers” are angry at alternative outlets for taking their viewers and are just censoring their competition. There’s no better time to remind readers that there are a number of alternatives out there to proprietary applications like Twitter and Facebook. While we shift into the future it’s even possible for you the reader to get paid for your comments and contributions using services like Steemit.com, SoMee.Social, Minds.com and soon Gab.ai
Let us move forward into the future to networks not run in tandem with the U.S. government and other governments, and not fueled by greed and selling harvested user data. But instead, completely decentralized and people-powered, incentive-based networks for sharing data you choose to share, and rewarding creators rather than snubbing them for bringing value to their platforms.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.