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Facebook reportedly developing messaging app Threads that automatically shares real-time location data

The app could potentially allow Facebook to mine even more highly personal data from its users.

Facebook is said to be testing a new messaging app called Threads which will encourage users to constantly and automatically broadcast their location, speed, and battery life to “close friends.”

According to a report from The Verge, Threads is an Instagram companion app which will allow people to share messages and data with people on their “close friends” list on Instagram. The report adds:

“Screenshots reviewed by The Verge show an app that’s designed to promote constant, automatic sharing between users and the people on their “close friends” list on Instagram. Opt in to automatic sharing, and Threads will regularly update your status, giving your friends a real-time view of information about your location, speed, and more.”

Threads doesn’t currently have a launch date but the news of the company working on this app does fit with Facebook’s increased focus on messaging this year. In January, it was reported that Facebook plans to unify the messaging features of Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg echoed these sentiments in a March announcement where he shared his future vision for Facebook and placed much of his focus on messaging.

When Zuckerberg announced this increased focus on messaging, he also said the messages would be private and end-to-end encrypted. However, in the months following Zuckerberg’s statements, Facebook has continued to violate its user’s privacy.

For example, this month Facebook contractors were caught listening to users’ private audio messages and a top UK Member of Parliament (MP) slammed the company for being “typically disingenuous” when giving evidence on the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Last month, it was also reported that Facebook is experimenting with features that would bypass the end-to-end encryption provided by WhatsApp.

The reports from The Verge don’t mention end-to-end encryption which suggests that Threads will not be private and will likely give Facebook constant, real-time access to its user’s location, battery life, and even the speed with which they move.

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