How to turn off this creepy Facebook feature

Ever wondered how Facebook comes up with some of your random friend suggestions? Turns out, it uses your phone's location along with other data.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read
Watch this: Don't let Facebook use your location to find friends

Facebook's Suggested Friends category is usually full of casual acquaintances, old friends from high school and other random people.

Lately, however, you may have seen random suggestions of people you don't know, yet somehow vaguely recognize. It turns out, Facebook is using your phone's location to match you with fellow Facebook users who are nearby, as first reported by Fusion.

There's a lot that could go wrong with this feature, and frankly it's a bit creepy. However, you can disable location services for the Facebook app on your phone, thereby preventing the social network from trying to play matchmaker.

Despite a Facebook spokesperson originally telling Fusion and CNET location was "one of the factors" used to suggest people you know, a Facebook spokesperson now claims the company is "not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know. " Instead, the social network "may show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you've imported and other factors."

Still, you may want want to restrict Facebook's access to your location information. Here's how:

Android users

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The process will vary depending on your device, manufacturer and the version of Android it's using. For Android 6.0 Marshmallow users, go to Settings > Apps > Facebook > Permissions > Location > Off.

Users of older Android devices, you may want to look at using Facebook through Google's Chrome browser on your device. Not only does it prevent location access (assuming you decline when asked), it also saves on battery life.

iOS users

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Open Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Facebook.

There will be three options listed, but the only one we're concerned with is Never; tap on it.

Update Tuesday June 28, 8 a.m. PT: Updated statement from Facebook.