How to Keep Facebook from Snooping on Your Photos’ Locations

Originally published at: How to Keep Facebook from Snooping on Your Photos’ Locations - TidBITS

Though Apple’s App Tracking Transparency has thwarted some of Facebook’s tracking efforts, the social media company can (and will, of course) still extract personal information through photos you upload. Here’s how to prevent such antisocial behavior.

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I am sure these recommendations are on point, however, the real issue is in the first sentence. Nobody has to have a Facebook account. Sharing news and information with family and friends was not invented by Facebook. There are plenty of ways to do this which do not jeopardize one’s privacy and the privacy of everyone you contact, not to mention the integrity of our democracy. The best way to stop Facebook from snooping is to close your account.


Metapho is an excellent app on iOS for viewing and editing photo metadata, and it also allows you to easily share photos with the location and identifying metadata removed. This can be done both from within the Metapho app, and from any app’s share sheet (by selecting the Metapho extension in the share sheet and sharing again from it).

I highly recommend it, it’s useful in all sorts of ways.


The few times that I post a photo on Facebook or Instagram, I’ll share the photo from the Photos app after tapping Options at the top and turning off sharing all photos data (mostly to remove access to location). This was maddening with iOS 14 first came out because there was a bug that caused apps not to appear on the share sheet. I had to restart my phone to get them back. Thankfully, this seems to be fixed.

That’s easy to say if your community isn’t Facebook-centric, and you’re not involved with any groups that use Facebook for communications. My wife has been trying to avoid Facebook for her mental health, and it’s remarkably difficult because there are some things she needs to be able to see. Besides, Facebook tracks you even if you don’t use it.

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Doesn’t turning off location services in the iPhone photos solve this problem? I realize I’m on an older iOS but if I look at the map in iOS Photos, I only have a couple that show up and one wasn’t even taken by me, it was sent to me. Sierra Preview doesn’t show any locations in the exif when I move them to my computer.


That’s just not the point. Of course dropping FB now may seem painful, but if you don’t do it now, you’ll be suffering from them forever. The only way Zuck will adapt is if he is forced to. And the way to force his hand is to vote with your feet and $. The argument about community just goes nowhere except to perpetuate the abuse. That “community” is being played by Zuck. I’d claim it’s smarter and more conducive to rip off the bandaid now and suffer some brief pain, than spend the rest of your life suffering from the same old agony that you are, essentially, enabling by refusing to take appropriate countermeasures.


If you don’t use FB why troll FB users?

Understood. Fortunately Facebook does not have access to PII of those without an account who use pages on sites with Facebook links (or does it?).

I am sure your wife’s predicament is shared by many others but there is little positive to be said for a ‘service’ that people use because they have to not because they want to.


I know some people who work in public facing positions that are required to use Facebook and/or Twitter for work.

Another oddity is you often need a public social media account to apply for jobs. Some companies don’t trust applicants who don’t have a social media prescence. Of course, that’s maybe less of a problem with the current labor shortage.

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Yes, but at the loss of being able to see where you took your photos, search on location, and so on. There’s a lot of data that you have every right to see and that significantly improves your life and iPhone experience, but that you shouldn’t have to ever share with the likes of Facebook.


Seriously??? Wow. Just wow. That should be illegal as it’s a form of discrimination. I’ve contemplated lawsuits against companies who run promotions (contests) but you can only enter via FB, which should be illegal. I really hate this assumption that everyone has an FB account.

Decades ago when Facebook was just becoming a thing a relative sent me photos I couldn’t access because I didn’t have an account. I suddenly understood why FB was growing so rapidly. It so turned me off I refused to ever get an account.

Now with all the privacy hubbub I look like a genius. :joy:


Because Facebook tracks you weather you are a member or not. Using the information it collects from members about non members is a big source of revenue for them, and they cross reference among apps, locations, time frame, etc., etc. to more precisely target ads. They track both online and offline behavior that retailers share with them across their entire network, including Instagram, Etc. The more they can personalize ads, the more effective they will be, the more money they can charge for them. They sell ads across Instagram, WhatsApp, Etc., plus what is probably millions and millions more members of third parties that participate in Facebook’s Audience network:

It’s the reason why Facebook has gone bat s—- about Apple’s App Tracking Transparency.

Okay, here’s something that’s easy to say and possibly more on point: Keep Facebook off your phone and use it only on your desktop or laptop, where its settings and configuration can be more closely controlled with the use of system settings, browser settings, and browser extensions such as FB Purity. Keeping Facebook off your phone not only limits data mining and makes it more difficult, it’s the single most effective step for keeping Facebook interactions to a manageable level that’s less injurious to mental health.

To step up one further, download your Facebook data and make an archive of it, then delete your account. Set up a new account under a pseudonym and set your privacy settings as you want them from the get-go. Connect only with organizations and people that you trust completely. This is what I’ve done, and it’s the balance of privacy and connection that suits me best.

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Thanks! I’ve installed Metapho.

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Makes a lot of sense!

This is excellent advice; only 1.7% of Facebook users log in on a desktop or laptop:

I wish all apps would have the Photos privacy setting for Add Photos Only like iCab has (left over from ios 11?). Much easier than setting up an album for each app (why yes, I do have too many apps…)

ViewExif is another good app that will show and strip metadata via the share sheet.

Facebook is the modern AOL. A huge number of people, companies, and even parts of government think that it IS the internet. Most restaurants and stores around here have ‘websites’ on FB, sometimes requiring an account for access just to see the menu. I’ve seen city and county information links to FB with no availability elsewhere. Twitter is bad too–many of our city and county services have twitter feeds for status stuff such as traffic reports and road closures with no other recourse. “But everyone is on FB and twitter!”


I’m not, so “everyone” must be a limited set smaller than “all persons”.