In 2014, Facebook had rolled out a Nearby Friends feature that notified users when their friends were nearby, when they were traveling, and in which city they were in. Now, eight years down the line, the Meta-owned social media titan will be shutting down the feature. Facebook isn’t the same friend-finding platform anymore after all.
It has begun informing users via News Feed notifications and emails that starting May 31 of this year, you can no longer access the Nearby Friends feature and send your current location with your Facebook friends. Other location-based features such as Weather Alerts, Background Location, and Location History will be discontinued from the same date, and they will no longer collect information shared by users after the deadline has passed.
However, this will not stop it from continuing to collect location and other user data for other services it offers. Of course!
Social media expert Matt Navarra was the first to inform others of the change after he noticed an alert in his notifications. Navarra confirmed that the features will be discontinued across the globe, and began rolling out earlier last week.
“While we’re deprecating some location-based features on Facebook due to low usage, people can still use Location Services to manage how their location information is collected and used,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
To add to this, Facebook notified that the location history and background location information you have shared to date will be deleted by August 1. However, if you wish for the information to be saved, then you can log in to access the same and download a copy of it before August 1 comes to pass.
We do not know what it was that pushed Facebook to shut down these features. Could it be because of the increased scrutiny it has been receiving over its practices of user data collection? It may be important to note that this had become a source of contention for Meta this February, prompting it to threaten to remove Instagram and Facebook from EU countries if it wasn’t allowed to transfer data to and fro from the US.
It could also well be drive by the study drop in active usage of the original Facebook platform. The company did report its first ever decline in DAUs recently, signalling that people may have begun to saturate in their use of Facebook after all.
You can update your location settings if you want to stop sharing your Location History or Background Location now. This will be possible if you disable the ability of the aforementioned features to collect information about your location before the deadline.