How to Prevent Facebook From Giving Up Your Location

Facebook may be giving out more information than you intended

Photo: Getty Images

Facebook is all about location awareness and sharing. It uses location information from your photos and your "check-ins" to show where you've been and where you are. Depending on your privacy settings it may provide this info to your friends or even a wider audience if your settings permit it.

If you aren't comfortable with Facebook giving up your location, then you need to do something about it. Here are some tips for preventing Facebook from revealing your whereabouts:

Dump Your Photo Location Tags

Whenever you snap a picture with your mobile phone, you might be revealing your location via the geotag that gets recorded in the picture's metadata.

To be absolutely sure that this data isn't provided to Facebook, you might want to consider never recording the location information in the first place. Most of the time this is done by turning off the location services setting on your smartphone's camera application so that the geotag information doesn't get recorded in the picture's EXIF metadata.

There are also apps available to help you strip out the geotag information of pictures you've already taken. Consider using deGeo (iPhone) or Photo Privacy Editor (Android) to remove the geotag data from your photos before uploading them to Facebook or other social media sites.

Turn off Facebook's Location Services Access on Your Mobile Device

When you first installed Facebook on your phone, it probably asked for permission to use your phone's location services so that it could provide you with the ability to "check-in" at different locations, tag photos with location information, etc. If you don't want Facebook knowing where you are posting something from, then you should revoke this permission in your phone's location services settings area.

Note: this will prevent you from having the ability to check-in and use features such as "Nearby Friends". To use these services you'll need to turn location services back on.

Review Location Tags Before They Are Posted

Facebook recently made an attempt to go from a super-granular privacy settings structure to an ultra-simple one. It now appears that you cannot prevent people from tagging you at a location, however, you can turn on the tag review feature which allows you to review anything you've been tagged in, whether it's a picture or a location check-in. You can then decide whether tags get posted before they are posted, but only if you have the tag review feature enabled.

To Enable the Facebook Tag Review Feature:

1. Log into Facebook and select the padlock icon next to the "Home" button at the top right corner of the page.

2. Click the "See More Settings" link from the bottom of the "Privacy Shortcuts" menu.

3. Click the "Timeline and Tagging" link on the left side of the screen.

4. In the "How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?" section of the "Timeline and Tagging Settings menu, click the "Edit" link next to "Review tags people add to your own posts before the tags appear on Facebook?"

5. Click the "Disabled" button and change its setting to "Enabled".

6. Click the "Close" link.

After the above setting is enabled, any post you are tagged in, whether it's a photo, check-in, etc, will have to gain your digital stamp of approval before it's posted to your timeline. This will effectively prevent anyone from posting your location without your permission.