Either really helpful or extremely creepy
The Facebook Messenger app poses more risk than you might imagine. This is especially true for those with hundreds of friends, not all of whom you may have met. We probably put 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 in Facebook Messenger Using Location Sharing
You don’t need to be tech-savvy 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 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, select Share Live Location and your friend will get to see your current location. They in turn can share their location with you.
Track Location in Facebook Messenger Using 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 tap on it and select show location to pull the location up.
- Tap on the tag text, and you’ll be redirected to Google Maps, which will display the target’s location.
It’s not the most reliable method of discovery since the location shown is from when the image was published and is not necessarily current. 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.
Track Location in Facebook Messenger Using Third-Party Apps
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, more often than not, this method has “stalker” 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 have to do is go to the IPLogger website and choose a tracking option from the list.
- Enter the URL of the site you’re tracking the location for 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 can use a second generated URL that lets you view the location statistics directly from your browser.
Track Location Using 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 tap the option to turn it on.
You can now see all of your friends currently using the feature. Each is listed by location, showing the physical distance between you. The closest friends are shown first and 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. It’s an open invitation to your location. This feature is used mainly 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 bit of sharing on both ends, you can pinpoint any of your friend’s whereabouts, and they can do the same.
Be thoughtful about who you share things with, especially online, as not everyone is as friendly as they may seem.
Former US Army IT communications specialist who began his online blogging career in 2016. Joseph has over 10 years experience in the IT industry as both an analyst and communications expert. He's a night owl and an avid Red Bull consumer who spends most of his downtime enthralled by online gaming and website building. Read Joseph's Full Bio