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Apple has complied with Russian demands to show the annexed Crimean peninsula as part of Russian territory on its apps.

Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014, drawing international condemnation.

The region, which has a Russian-speaking majority, is now shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app, when viewed from Russia.

But the apps do not show it as part of any country when viewed elsewhere.

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The Apple Weather app now lists Crimea as part of Russia

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Apple Maps

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Apple Maps does not show a border between Crimea and Russia

The State Duma, the Russian parliament’s lower house, said in a statement: “Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory.”

Russia treats the naval port city of Sevastopol as a separate region.

The BBC tested several iPhones in Moscow and it appears the change affects devices set up to use the Russian edition of Apple’s App Store.

Apple had been in talks with Russia for several months over what the State Duma described as “inaccuracy” in the way Crimea was labelled.

The tech giant originally suggested it could show Crimea as undefined territory – part of neither Russia nor Ukraine.

But Vasily Piskaryov, chairman of the Duma security and anti-corruption committee, said Apple had complied with the Russian constitution.

He said representatives of the company were reminded that labelling Crimea as part of Ukrainian territory was a criminal offence under Russian law, according to Interfax news agency.

“There is no going back,” Mr Piskaryov said. “Today, with Apple, the situation is closed – we have received everything we wanted.”

He said Russia was always open to “dialogue and constructive co-operation with foreign companies”.

Apple has not yet commented on the decision.

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

When Google Maps is viewed from Ukraine, the maps show no clear border between Crimea and Ukraine but also no border between Crimea and Russia, according to BBC Monitoring.

Most of the international community, including the EU and the US, does not recognise the annexation of Crimea to Russia.

The loss of Crimea is a deep wound for Ukrainians. Shortly after the peninsula was annexed in early 2014, a separate conflict broke out in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions when separatists moved against the Ukrainian state.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of sending its troops to the region and arming the separatists.

Moscow denies this but says that Russian volunteers are helping the rebels. More than 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The BBC does not show Crimea as part of Russia on its maps, but shows a dotted line to mark disputed territory.

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Media captionHow Russia wants to control the internet
user location settings work. Both Android and iOS are rolling out new features to give users more control over how they manage their locations settings at the device level and within the individual apps being used on a device. In response, Facebook is changing how users manage their locations data within the Facebook app.

Facebook’s app on Android 10. Before this most recent of Android’s operating system, Android devices included an on/off switch that controlled an app’s access to the device’s precise location. With Android 10, users will now be able to allow individual apps access to location data when the app is being used and when it is inactive.

This new Android 10 setting could conflict with the background location setting within the Facebook app. To resolve the issue, Facebook will follow the most restrictive setting selected by the user.

“For example, if your device location setting is set to ‘all of the time,’ but your Facebook background location setting is off, we won’t collect your precise location information when you’re not using the Facebook app,” writes Facebook’s Engineering Director of Location Platforms Paul McDonald.

Facebook is also going to begin to phase out its background location setting on Android 10 and will remind users via notifications to check their device location settings.

New location setting for iOS 13. With the release of iOS 13, users will now have an added fourth location setting “allow once” which gives an app temporary permission to access a device’s location only once. This setting is in addition to the previous settings: “always,” “only when the app is in use,” or “never.”

Anyone using the Facebook app — and any other apps that access location data — on an iOS device will now begin to receive notifications when an app is using their precise location and how many times the app has accessed the information.

“The notification will also include a map of the location data an app has received and an explanation of why the app uses that type of location information,” writes McDonald.

Why we should care. These latest location setting updates on Android and iOS are part of the larger trend across operating systems and social platforms to give users more control of their data (and look better to regulators). It’s a move in the right direction in terms of user privacy, but these changes could potentially reduce the amount of data available to marketers and advertisers wanting to target users — especially advertisers running campaigns based on location targeting filters.

Facebook said it will still collect location data via user activities such as check-ins, events and internet connection information, but this a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of data it can collect based purely on where the app — or device — is being used. As users become more aware of how their location data is being used — and take more control over what information they’re willing to share — marketers will have to be more savvy with their ad targeting measures and find news ways to engage audiences beyond location-based ad filters.

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