Facebook pushes users to add location to more photos with News Feed and sidebar prompts

Facebook is encouraging users to tag the location of their photos through sidebar modules and News Feed stories, likely to build better profiles of where users have been.

A new module in the site’s right-hand sidebar prompts users to add location to specific photos they have taken. Facebook suggests a place based on the GPS location information stored in the EXIF data of the image. Users can also select another place to tag if the suggestion isn’t accurate. After clicking “add location,” the location and photo will be added to a user’s Timeline map.

The social network also continues to run stories in News Feed about friends who have added photos to their maps. The story includes links to a user’s own map where they can tag the location of their own photos and friends’ photos they’ve been tagged in.

Smartphone photos often include the GPS coordinates of where the image was taken, but since many people might not know this, Facebook has to be careful not to make users uncomfortable. Clicking the question mark in the top corner of the sidebar module brings users to the Help Center, which explains how cameras include date and location information for each photo. There is also an option to provide feedback about Facebook’s location tagging.

The social network has previously offered location suggestions based on the plain text location included in an album’s description.

In April, Facebook said that 200 million users were tagging 2 billion photos and posts with location each month. That number is likely much higher now as Facebook offers these kinds of prompts and more users switch to Timeline, which includes the map view. Facebook also recently added the option for page owners to tag their posts and photos with location, but we haven’t seen similar suggestions for pages to add location information to photos they uploaded in the past.

Earlier this week we discovered Facebook testing a new mobile module that prompts users to Like a page moments after they check into a location. The company is likely working on a location-based ad product, and so it would want to get users into the habit of including their location with all their posts and photo uploads.

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