Either really helpful or extremely creepy
The ability to track and locate an individual is no longer as difficult as it appears in the movies. Wiretaps and bugs can be replaced with something as simple as a smartphone – to a certain extent. We live in such a digital age that it has become easier to pinpoint someone’s location using nothing more than a chat app.
Do you need to relay information that can’t be shared over the phone? Just hop on Facebook Messenger to pinpoint their location so you can make the trip in person.
So long as you and the “target” both use Facebook Messenger, location tracking is possible. This means that any parent who thinks their child may be sneaking off to a party instead of a study group, can use Facebook Messenger to “check in” and determine their whereabouts.
Now just imagine that you’re on the other end of this scenario. Someone could be tracking your location right now and you wouldn’t know it. Creepy, huh?
The Facebook Messenger app actually poses more of a risk than you might imagine. This is especially true for those who have hundreds of friends, not all of which are people you may have ever actually met. We probably put way too much of ourselves on social media, providing more information than we think. Understanding how you can track others may enlighten you on how easy it can be for someone to do the same to you.
Tracking Location Using Facebook Messenger
You don’t even need to be tech-savvy in order to track someone using Messenger. It doesn’t take an elite-level hacker to get on Facebook and see someone has shared their location.
This particular feature is a more consensual approach to tracking. Facebook Messenger makes it easier for people who want to meet up by allowing friends to share their location.
- You or someone on your friends list can open up a chat dialog through Facebook Messenger, by tapping on the four dots found at the bottom left portion of your screen.
- Click Location.
- From there, just select Share Live Location and your friend will get to see your current location. They in turn can share their location with you.
Location Tags and #Hashtags
Search for a location tag of someone on your friends list and their location is all but a few clicks away. The most common way in which to discover a location tag is by checking Facebook Stories.
- If a location tag has been left on one of the images, you can just tap on it, select show location and have it pulled up on your smartphone screen.
- Tap on the tag text and you will be redirected to Google Maps, which will display the target’s location.
It’s not the most reliable method of discovery seeing as the location is not necessarily current, but when the image was originally published. There is also the problem of the location tag providing an incorrect location as the publisher can post any location they choose. But it’s still worth a shot.
Here’s where location tracking starts to become less consensual and more privacy invasive. Although there are applications of location tracking that could be beneficial in a positive way, more often than not, this method has ‘cybercriminal’ written all over it.
Using a free online service like IPLogger can help you to find the exact location of a friend as of the time a post was made.
- All you’d need to do is go to the website and choose a tracking option from the list.
- Enter the URL of the site you’re tracking the location from and copy the provided IPLogger code.
- From here, it’s all about getting your friend to click the generated URL, which you can send through Facebook Messenger. Once this happens, you’ll be able to use a second generated URL that enables you to view the location statistics directly from your browser.
The Nearby Friends Feature
This feature requires that you have the actual Facebook app installed. You can then enable it by going into the More Options menu and selecting Nearby Friends. Then just tap the option to turn it on.
You will now be able to see all of your other friends who are currently using the feature. Each will be listed by location, showing their physical distance between you. The closest friends will be shown first and will be accompanied by a Facebook Messenger button which you can use to open up a chat with them.
By simply using the feature, you’ve given consent to anyone who is also using the feature, and happens to be on your friends list, an open invitation to your location. This particular feature is primarily used for real-life meetups between friends and colleagues, but can also be used by non-friends you’ve mistakenly put on your friends list.
As you can tell, it doesn’t take much to locate anyone you want to, as long as they’re on your friends list. With a little bit of sharing on both ends, you can pinpoint any of your friend’s whereabouts, and they can do the same.
Be smart about who you share things with, especially online, as not everyone is as friendly as they may seem.