Filed back in 2017, this patent is dubbed “Offline Trajectories” and describes a method in which based on your current location and locations you’ve been in the past, along with people you know, it will attempt to predict where you might be going next. According to the patent, this feature can be used to determine if where you’re going might not have internet connectivity, and will try to prefetch data so that you can still access some content on Facebook.
However we wouldn’t be surprised if such predictions could be used for advertising purposes, where if it detects you’re in a restaurant and based on your penchant for desserts in the past, it might start to show you ads for desserts around you. Of course that is just speculation but it is a valid potential use for such a feature.
That being said, Facebook has since tried to downplay the discovery of the patent. According to Facebook spokesperson Anthony Harrison, “We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications — such as this one — should not be taken as an indication of future plans.”