Call it yet another attempt at intruding your privacy or a great way to advance social meet ups. Facebook has rolled out a new feature where your friends are notified when you are nearby or vice versa.
The ‘Nearby Friends’ feature lets you use GPS and mobile phone signals to triangulate your position, and then broadcast it over the internet.
Thankfully, the feature enables you to choose which one of your friends will get to know when you are nearby and how long they will remain notified, thereby enabling you to avoid those who you really want to, according to newsroom.fb.com.
The feature will be soon rolled out into iOS and Android app first in the United States. Facebook announced that the feature will only work if both – you and your friend – are on each other’s white list.
“Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on ‘Nearby Friends’ and choose to share with each other to see when you are nearby. Your friends will only be able to see that you are nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.”
Facebook says that since both parties have to explicitly agree to sign up, there should be no accidental privacy issues. But some have also identified potential issues – such as an individual forgetting to turn off the feature or delete their records.
There’s also the question of whether Facebook will try to make money from the data.
Right now the social network says the feature is not being used “currently” for advertising.
Facebook’s Andrea Vaccari told Business Insider (in an indirect quote):
“Nearby Friends will not be usable by business Pages that you’re fans of — so local restaurants and stores won’t be pinging you with offers when you walk by”.