Facebook will soon disable many location-based features, including the ‘Nearby Friends’ feature. This news about removing the feature appeared as a notification on many users’ Facebook apps. Facebook didn’t provide a clear statement about removing many location-based features from the platform.
Meanwhile, it will also auto-disable the location data collected from the users. All recorded data will be available for users to download sometime later this year.
What is the ‘Facebook Nearby Friends’ feature?
Facebook rolled out the ‘Nearby Friends’ feature in 2014. It was an attempt to forge greater connections between friends by sharing the location data. This feature is only available for Android and iOS devices. These are two ubiquitous mobile OS and possess GPS tracking features.
Once the user-enabled ‘Nearby Friends’ feature in their app, the app will share the location data with other friends. Similarly, users can see their friends’ locations who have also enabled the feature. However, the necessity of ‘Nearby Friends’ is very limited in today’s privacy-conscious world. Users don’t trust Facebook with their data, including background location data.
Other location-based features, including the Weather alert, will also become unavailable from 1 June 2022. The phone notification also points out that Time Alerts, Location History, and Background History will also be unavailable in the coming weeks.
Facebook doesn’t indicate any plans for restoring these features, meaning it is permanent removal. These apps will stop collecting location and background data on 31 May 2022. The users need not disable the location permissions or the ‘Nearby Friends’ feature. Facebook will automatically disable them on the termination date.
Facebook is reducing its hiring quota for this year amid revenue losses. Cutting off unnecessary features could be a move to improve the user experience. Facebook has become the poster boy for flouting users’ data and privacy. Maybe it is trying to restore the lost trust by becoming more privacy-focused. However, very few would consider trusting Mark Zuckerberg with their data.
Users can download data collected by Facebook related to location sharing features later this year. As per 9to5mac, it will be available by 1 August 2022. Have you enabled the ‘Nearby Friends’ feature on Facebook? Will you ever trust Mark Zuckerberg with your data? Share your thoughts in the comments section.