From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, to Snapchat and Youtube, everyone knows that social media websites use a lot of tracking facilities to locate their customers and show them targeted advertisements. But did you know that not only can a social media app track you to the neighborhood that you are in but even down to the street corner or house or restaurant that you are in at the moment? This revelation has shocked quite a few of us and for good reasons. Though in some cases, geolocating can work in your favor, no one wants to be tracked ALL the time! Moreover, it is not just your close friends and people on your friend’s list who can see your location. If you are a part of a group or have been talking to someone using your Facebook Messenger app, then even they can see your real-time location on a map by a simple tap.
A recently launched app known as Marauder’s Map has revealed how the Facebook Messaging app can track your location. Basically, it uses geolocation on each message sent and using that info, maps out the place from which it has been sent.
The Good News
The good news is that these social media tracking services can be turned off if you want. And we highly recommend that you do. Even if you feel pretty secure sharing your exact location with whoever is on your friend list, you should know how to control and protect your privacy. So, here are the ways in which you can turn off the geolocating feature on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Facebook has a long and notorious history of compromising user privacy. But it does offer a certain level of privacy to users who know how to access it.
If you don’t want your FB profile coming up on search engines outside, then simply go to the Privacy tab in your FB account setting. Go to “Who can look you up?” You’ll find two options – email and phone. Edit the options and select Friends.
There will be a setting for search engines linking to your profile. Enter “No” in that space. With this, search engines will not show your profile in search results.
You should also turn off the Location Sharing feature on your mobile and laptop which allows anyone to see where you are at the moment when you send a message. This can be a really handy thing for maintaining your privacy and ensuring no one, other than the people you trust, gets to know your habits and routines.
Instagram is a great platform for interaction with friends, but it also carries with it a certain level of risk. If you are concerned about who is able to see where you have been, then there is a simple fix for that. First, you need to turn off the ‘Add to Photo Map’ feature. If you still want to use the add location feature, then you can leave that on.
Another thing that Instagram has added to its app recently in the Activity Status Indicator feature. This annoying little gem allows anyone you message directly as well as all your followers to know when you were last active. If you don’t want people to know that, then go to your setting and just deselect the ‘Show Activity Status’ option. The one drawback of this is that you will not be able to see the last activity of other accounts either. But this may be well worth the sacrifice.
Twitter is another social media phenomenon but it has recently started throwing a lot of targeted ads towards its users. If this feature annoys you, you can disable it. To do this, simply go to Settings, then to Privacy and Safety, and disable all features. If you want, you can also choose the ones you would still like to get.
How to Secure Your Social Media Accounts with VPN?
If you don’t want to turn off your geolocation, you can at least hide your real location – use a VPN to hide your real IP and instead use the IP address of one of the VPN servers. With a VPN, you can stay secure on social media.
Social media can provide a very enriching experience. However, you should never sacrifice your safety and online privacy for the sake of a few likes and shares from people you don’t even know in real life. We highly recommend that you consider how exposed you want to be online and on social media and take steps to protect yourself accordingly.