How does Facebook know where I live, when I have never provided anything about my address (or even city) to Facebook (or such companies)?
(My correct city was in the "anonymous" Sponsored "survey".)

(Also, slightly unrelated: Where is the best place to report this privacy violation?)

4 Answers 4


It will almost certainly use your IP Address to locate the general area of where you live. It is quite a common thing to do these days.

There are many services that can provide this information, a simple Google search returned http://www.ip2location.com/

Taken from this Wikipedia article on Geolocation Software

The primary source for IP address data is the regional Internet registries which allocate and distribute IP addresses amongst organizations located in their respective service regions:

  • American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
  • RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC)
  • Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC)
  • Latin American and Caribbean Internet Address Registry (LACNIC)
  • African Network Information Centre (AfriNIC)

Secondary sources include:

  • Data mining or user-submitted geographic location data. For example, a weather web site might ask visitors for a city name to find their local forecast. Another example would be to pair a user's IP address with the address information in his/her account profile.
  • Data contributed by internet service providers.
  • Merging databases from different suppliers.
  • Guesstimates from adjacent Class C range[2] and/or gleaned from network hops.

Accuracy is improved by:

  • Data scrubbing to filter out or identify anomalies.
  • Statistical analysis of user submitted data.
  • Related: Try using an anonymity network like Tor to disguise your IP if this is a concern for you.
    – micah
    Commented Jun 23, 2011 at 19:24

They are not only targeting you IP address as @Barry pointed out but they may also use more information they gathered from you such as:

  • The location your friends provided (or even friends of friends)
  • Local pages you liked or commented on
  • Places you checked in
  • Coupons you used
  • Information on your profile such as your job
  • Comments or messages by you or someone else containing a city, region or even local business
  • Maybe even information found via search engines
  • Maybe websites you visited containing a facebook like button

(note that this is not officially provided by Facebook and is just brainstorming what might be used to determine your location)


Try connecting from a different country/continent and see what happens: they will tell you that you are not connecting from your usual location and ask to go through some security checks to confirm that is really you, which basically means they log your geo-location coordinates every time you make login.


There's something much creepier going on here than just IP. The closest location shown for me on https://www.iplocation.net/ is 3 miles away from me and furthest is 10 miles away. Yet Facebook knows my location within 1 mile. (It knows a place less than 1 mile east of me is less than 1 mile east, one less than 1 mile north shows as less than 1 mile north, one 2 miles east shows as 2 miles east, and one 5 miles west of me shows as 5 miles west.) It's not just IP.

I have never used my Android phone for Facebook, ever; only a desktop.

I've never commented on or liked anything for my actual city. More than that, though, the city I show on my profile is several miles away even to its nearest edge. There's nothing in Facebook to tell it my city.

However Google very very likely knows my location (from my phone, even though 98% of the time 'Location' is off). And I use Google on the desktop. That's the only connection I can come up with. I have a extremely frighteningly creepy suspicion about Google and Facebook.

Or else my internet connection is revealing my precise desktop location?

Note, I do use password-protected Wi-Fi in my home.

  • Can anyone verify the wireless claims in stackoverflow.com/questions/1668304/… ? Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 7:35
  • The "secondary sources" shown in an answer above are pretty staggering. Shudder. I really wonder if these are indeed in play for me, and who knows how many more of you, where Facebook goes externally to get your physical address. That seems crazy Orwellian - that Time Warner (who has a hard line into my home) could share my home address??? Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 7:42
  • Possibly collateral but maybe revealing: on desktop, on a Google map, - On IE, NOT logged in to Google/gmail, clicking My Location (compass looking icon on lower right of webpage) can't find me. - On Firefox, logged in to Google, clicking My Location CAN'T find me when my PHONE is OFF. - On Firefox, logged in to Google, clicking My Location finds me WITHIN 100 FEET, when my PHONE is ON, even though Location is OFF on the phone. So Google on a desktop gets your EXACT location even though location is "off" on the phone.I get it, I guess. But how Facebook knows is the the alarming question. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 8:47

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