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Instagram tests feature to share user location with Facebook

Oct 07

Instagram tests feature to share user location with Facebook

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - The Facebook-owned popular photo and video sharing app, Instagram is witnessing a month full of controversies.

Late last month, Instagram cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger dropped a bombshell, announcing their resignation from Facebook.

The cofounders of the popular photo-sharing app - which was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $715 million - were said to be leaving amid tensions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

However, Systrom and Krieger, who had managed to largely keep the brand and product independent for six years since the acquisition, were said to have grown increasingly frustrated with an unusual uptick in day-to-day involvement by Zuckerberg.

Soon after the move was confirmed, fears increased of Instagram becoming more tightly integrated with Facebook.

Boasting of more than a billion users, the photo-sharing app has become a key driver of revenue for scandal-hit Facebook.

Now, reports seem to confirm the fears, as Instagram is said to be testing a highly controversial privacy feature.

According to a report in TechCrunch, Instagram is testing a new privacy setting - a Locating Sharing tool, which would share a user's exact GPS coordinates with Facebook.

The report claims that a user's location could be shared with Instagram's parent company even if the app has been shut down.

The feature, which is likely to fuel concerns amongst users, was discovered by a computer science student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Jane Manchun Wong.

According to Wong, the feature is currently in the prototype stage.

The report claims that Instagram's new tool could share location history with Facebook, to help the social media giant serve up targeted advertisements.

After the reports first appeared, Facebook issued a statement confirming that it was testing a location sharing tool on Instagram.

A Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in the report, 'To confirm, we haven’t introduced updates to our location settings. 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.'

However, the confirmation further exacerbated fears that with its founders gone, Instagram could now become more intrusive.