facebook headquarters

If you’re an avid mobile social networker, you are already broadcasting information about your whereabouts throughout the day. It’s common knowledge that the mobile Facebook app has access to your GPS and mobile network location data while you have the app open. But what if it started collecting that data even when the app is closed?

According to a report from Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources, Facebook is developing a new app set for release in March that would never stop collecting user location data. If the app is installed on your phone, Facebook will know where you are, 24/7.

Of course, the main reason behind this is presumably for advertising. Imagine a company that already knows everything about you from your Facebook profile, but now also knows where you live, where you work, whether or not you tend to head out for Happy Hour, or how often you go to the grocery store. That’s marketing gold, and Facebook could make a killing by offering that kind of ad experience.

Facebook is still trying to figure out exactly how to best monetize its mobile platform. It is the company’s biggest focus right now, having acquired multiple mobile-centric startups in the last couple of years. Two of those startups, Glancee and Gowalla, are directly involved in the new location-sharing app.

The societal norm among smartphone users has reached the point where having a mobile app that tracks and broadcasts your current location is no longer alarming; in fact, it’s expected. An app that keeps tabs on you even when you don’t have the app open, however, is not nearly as common. Even for apps that do monitor your location constantly, users are almost always perfectly aware of what they’re getting themselves into. Software like Find My Friends and Girls Around Me make it glaringly obvious that you are broadcasting location data through mobile servers for other people to see.

Facebook is a very different animal. The social networking platform has grown so much and expanded its vision so far that nobody even knows exactly how much data they’re collecting, what the data is used for, and who has access to it. This new app would significantly raise the already heated Facebook privacy debate.