Facebook Messenger Location

Keeping your location a secret in Facebook Messenger is easy to do, but you still have to do it

We've explained how Facebook Messenger isn't anywhere near as evil as a recent spate of ill-informed stories would have you believe, but that doesn't mean there aren't features you can't take control of.

And one of the things we've been asked most is "How do I keep Facebook Messenger from sharing my location?"

It's pretty easy, actually, requiring no hacking at all. Here's how to handle it.

Facebook Messenger locationsBy default, Facebook Messenger includes your location in new messages. You can see where you are. (Of course, you should probably already know where you are, since you are there. You're in the now.) And you can see where your friend is. And if you zoom in, you can really see where your friend is. Understandably, you might not want that to happen. And while perhaps it might be better if Facebook Messenger's location service was opt-in instead of opt-out, at least it does give you a warning when you start a new conversation with someone.

There are a couple options for turning off location in Facebook Messenger.

Turn off location sharing altogether

Facebook Messenger location settings

To turn off location sharing in Facebook Messenger wholesale, all you need to do is go into the Facebook Messenger settings — hit the little gear image — and uncheck the box under "Location." (Note how it mentions that "new messages include your location by default when it's turned on.") Once you do that, location won't be shared by default when you start a new conversation with someone.

Control location sharing per conversation

Facebook Messenger conversation location settings

If you've turned off location sharing in the settings and would still like to share where you are, you can choose to do so from within the conversation itself: Just start typing and look for the bullseye image on the right-hand side. Tap it, and you'll share your location in that conversation. Tap it again to turn it back off. (By the same token, you can leave location sharing on all the time and choose to disable it in specific conversations.)

Our recommendation: Turn off location sharing by default and enable it per conversation. (And that's something Facebook should do in an update, but we doubt it'll happen.) That'll keep you from broadcasting your location unless you really mean to.