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Facebook is axing its creepy Nearby Friends feature

And a host of other location-based features.

meta and facebook logo on grey background
Image: Unsplash

Facebook is about to turn off multiple location-based features, including Facebook’s Nearby Friends. These features will disappear on May 31 and any data associated with these features will be deleted from Facebook’s servers on August 1.

The change was first noticed by 9to5Mac, after some users reported a notification in the Facebook app last week. Other features disappearing include Time Alerts, Weather Alerts, location history, and background location.

This is a big change, as the stalker-y Nearby Friends feature always felt creepy af to us. Sure, multiple other social sites have a similar feature now, but context matters. We shouldn’t trust Facebook with our data.

Here’s the text from the notification

screenshot of facebook app on an iphone, showing the notification that nearby friends, weather alerts, location history and background location are going away
Image: KnowTechie

If you haven’t received the notification yet, or simply skipped it, you can find it below.

Because you’ve previously used Nearby Friends, Weather alerts, Location History or Background Location, we’re letting you know that these products and features will no longer be available 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. Facebook will otherwise continue collecting location information for other experiences as described in our Data Policy.

Update your settings

You can update your current Location History and Background Location settings in the Facebook App until May 31, 2022. After this date, the settings will be disabled.

Accessing your Location History

If you want to view or delete your existing Location History, you can access your information and download your information before Aug 1, 2022. After this date, if you do nothing, your existing Location History information will be automatically deleted.

You can view, download, or delete any existing location data, or you can do nothing. Regardless of the actions you take now, any relevant stored data will disappear on August 1.

READ MORE: Facebook brings back the chronological feed for your friends

That doesn’t exactly mean the company won’t still be siphoning up location data. It will, but for “other experiences,” whatever those will be.

That said, we’re glad to see the end of Facebook’s Nearby Friends. The feature was creepy at best. At worst, it enabled stalkers, controlling partners, and other threats to know where you were.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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