Facebook is Killing Nearby Friends And Other Location-Based features

Posted on May 9, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Cloud, Social with 4 Comments

Facebook has started warning users that it’s about to sunset various location-based features at the end of the month. The list of discontinued features includes Nearby Friends, Weather alerts, Location History, and, Background Location, which will all be killed off after May 31, 2022.

“Information you shared that was used for these experiences, including Location History and Background Location, will stop being collected after May 31, 2022, even if you have previously enabled them,” the company said in an email to Facebook users that have been using these features. Facebook will also allow users to download their location history until August 1, and this information will be automatically deleted after that date.

For those unfamiliar, Nearby Friends was an optional mobile feature that launched back in 2014, and it allows Facebook users to be notified when some of their friends are nearby. The feature also lets users see when their friends who have enabled this feature are traveling, with information about their location being visible right on their profile.

It’s not clear why Facebook is now discontinuing Nearby Friends and other location-based features, but the company made several changes in recent years to appear as a privacy-conscious platform. However, Facebook will still continue to collect location information from its users that comes from other experiences described in the company’s Data Policy. These pieces of information include where you live, the places you like to go, and the businesses and people you’re near to allow the company to improve your experience and offer you personalized ads.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Facebook is Killing Nearby Friends And Other Location-Based features”

  1. pecosbob04

    "Facebook is Killing Nearby Friends", personally I would have gone with a different lead but then again 'if it bleeds it leads' so yeah.

    • CasualAdventurer

      Just what I was thinking. May I suggest: "Google kills location-based services like Nearby Friends"? The other made me think, "OMG, their friends or mine?" Because, you know, it makes a difference.

  2. gregsedwards

    It seems pretty simple to me. With the new version of iOS, Apple made it exponentially more difficult for apps like Facebook to snoop your data quietly under the auspices of "location-based services." My guess is that once users became more aware that Facebook was tracking their locations all the time, they turned off those permissions, and now Facebook has no reason to keep investing the time and resources without reaping that information.

  3. owenm

    Over the last few years, mobile apps have increasingly been a tool for Coercive Control in domestic violence situations. It is possible to covertly install apps on a victim's device to allow them to be tracked. Apple and Google are cracking down on this by limiting access to location data.

    I'd like to believe Facebook doing a good deed here. In reality, I think Apple and Google are crippling Facebook's access to the location data necessary for these features to work correctly. As a consequence, they are killing them off.