Facebook has a spotty history when it comes to digital privacy, so naturally
it?s getting into the street level maps game.

Swedish mapping startup Mapillary announced in acompany blog post
[https://blog.mapillary.com/news/2020/06/18/Mapillary-joins-Facebook.html]on
Thursday it had been acquired by Facebook. Mapillary CEO Jan Erik Solem didn?t
give any financial details about the acquisition, but noted that things would
not change much for Mapillary users, at least in the short term.

In case you haven?t heard of Mapillary, it solicits photo uploads from regular
folks in order to build out a highly detailed street level map of the world.
It?s similar to what Google Maps does, but you can upload your own photos
instead of waiting for a Google van to drive around your neighborhood. Folks who
make their own mapping software can use Mapillary?s data for their own purposes,
too.

Mapillary?s blog post indicated that the data would remain open and free to use
for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, so it doesn?t seem like
Facebook is walling it off yet. It?s not entirely clear what Facebook intends to
do with Mapillary?s platform, as general use mapping software isn?t really in
Mark Zuckerberg?s portfolio.

That said, the Mapillary blog pointed to Facebook Marketplace and humanitarian
aid as ways Facebook uses maps behind the scenes. Given the litany of privacy
problems Facebook has dealt with in recent years, including with its shiny
new?Messenger Rooms?video chat service, skepticism about this acquisition is
certainly understandable.

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