I mentioned a few days ago how your iPhone tracks your location. Facebook, on the other hand, does. On Facebook mobile, “Nearby Friends” notifies friends that you are nearby.
This feature is available if you have the Facebook app on your phone (iPhone or Android). Nearby Friends is an opt-in feature, which means it is disabled unless you enable it.
Let’s take a closer look at Nearby Friends, including what it might mean for teens.
HOW NEARBY FRIENDS WORKS ON THE FACEBOOK MOBILE APP
Nearby friends is found within the FB app on the “More” tab at the bottom. Click the “more” tab and then you’ll see Nearby Friends. If turned off, you’ll be prompted to turn it on.
Once on, you’ll see a list of Nearby Friends – those on your Facebook friends list who have ALSO decided to turn on this feature. (This means you won’t see all your friends listed here).
(Faces blurred because they don’t want to admit they know me ;-))
Click the settings icon in the upper right (as in the screenshot above). This is where you can choose who can see your location. For example, if you have set up lists in Facebook, you can choose to share your location with just that particular list, such as Close Friends. The default is “Friends” as shown on the left; just select and then choose from your available lists.
You can also share your precise location with a friend if you wish. For example, you might see that a friend is nearby and you want to meet up with them. Click the arrow icon next to their name and then choose how long they can see your every move.
This video from Tech Crunch shows exactly how this works.
HOW TO TURN OFF NEARBY FRIENDS IN FACEBOOK
If you’ve used Nearby Friends and decided it’s not for you, just turn the feature off. Follow the same steps (More tab > Nearby Friends > Settings) and then slide the slider to the left until the slider is no longer green.
The tiny text on the screen lets you know that even though you have turned off Nearby Friends, the app is still building a “history of your precise location even when you’re not using the app”. If you feel this is a bit intrusive, take a look at the Location Settings.
On the Location Settings screen, slide the slider to the left to turn off Location History. This doesn’t delete your previously saved history; that is still lurking around on your Activity Log. While you are the only who can see this log (it is not shared with friends) you can remove your history if you prefer.
To get to the history log, click the “More” tab again, scroll all the way down and find Activity Log. Choose the Filter at the top, and select Location History (It’s near the bottom of the list). Once selected, you’ll have a filtered view of your activity that only shows location history. Select “Clear Location History” (shown here).
TEENS AND NEARBY FRIENDS
If you have a teen who is on Facebook, now is a good time to go through their Friends list. Teens have a higher likelihood of having a large number of Facebook friends. Their friend list is likely to be more of a “random acquaintance” list. They could be informing hundreds of people about their whereabouts. Unless they are selective in adding friends, they may be disclosing their general location to more people than you would like (or they even realize).
Again, this is an opt-in feature, so discuss with your teen whether or not they should use it if they have Facebook on their phone.
If they do, perhaps restricting the sharing to “Close Friends” is a good idea.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think this feature is a good idea? If you think you might find this useful, as the young hipsters in the TechCrunch video do when they meet for coffee, you should enable this feature.
I only see value if the majority of your friends use Facebook on the go and enable this feature. If you’re concerned about privacy and sharing your location data with others, even if they’re friends, or if you don’t think you’ll ever use it, turn it off.
5 Essential Things You Should Know About Facebook Nearby Friends
One of the most used features on Facebook is the Nearby Friends feature. It helps give you information on where your friend is and if he/she is nearby. In actuality, one can utilise this feature in tracking anyone’s location. You can find this feature on the Facebook app. This feature helps you track your friend’s proximity and location. This means it is now easy to link up with your friends via Facebook.
Here’s some quick fact you should know about the Facebook nearby friends:
Best way to make use of the Nearby Feature
Firstly, for the nearby friends feature to work effectively, you need to be able to share your location with your Facebook friends and ensure they do exactly the same thing. To enable ‘nearby friend’ to function, head to ‘the more tab’ on your Facebook app and search for the nearby friends on the menu to enable it. If your friend has enable this feature, then he or she will sight you and your location. The nearby friend will precisely display the last time your friend logged in and show information on the precise location of your friend.
Sharing Precise Location At Stipulated Time
So if you are not comfortable with location sharing everytime, but for specific meeting or event at a particular point in time, you can use Nearby Friends to set the time which you can track. If you want to share specific location at a stipulated point in time, you can use the Nearby Friends feature. This way you can search for the exact location of your friends on the map and find out the point in time they will arrive at the venue of the meeting and the estimated time they will arrive.
Use Of Your Data
Free lunch does not exist. The truth is that Facebook uses your location data for advertisement or marketing purposes. This could be bad because Facebook has some notoreity with regards handling of user data.
Facebook Features That Use Location Info
Other Facebook features utlise location to effectively function. Some examples are Facebook Messenger, Check-in, Status Update and Nearby places. When you share a status with Facebook messenger, it is important to note that your location is automatically turn on.
So, the fact remains that your location is shared with Facebook when you use these features.
Other applications provide the same service as Facebook nearby friends. These applications revolve around sharing of location. The name of these apps are listed below:
- Circle – This is an app which users can use to discover any event going on in their city or vicinity. Through this app, you can even find out if your friends will be present at the event.
- Banjo – This apps can furnish you with all the details about current events and latest stories on social networks via location.
- Connect – Connect lives up to its name. The app links all your friends on social media into a single map. This means you can find out which of your friends is available around you.
Issues with Privacy
For Nearby Friends to properly work, you will have to share your location. Although, you can chose to share your nearby location with your specific friend lists or the general location. Please ensure you exercise caution as you expose your location and data. Thankfully, the feature is optional.