Technology

Facebook's 'Nearby Friends' Will Allow Users to Track Friends' Locations

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People who use the Facebook app on their Android or iPhone will soon be notified when their friends are near them, thanks to a new feature called "Nearby Friends."

Facebook users will have to give the social giant permission to track them in order to use "Nearby Friends." People who use the Facebook app on their cell phones will soon get notifications asking them to opt into the new feature.

Facebook states:

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.

Tech Crunch reports that there is a "Location History" feature on the app that Facebook says is "not being used for advertising or marketing, but in the future it will be.”

The "Location History" feature can be turned off, but then "Nearby Friends" won't work.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Chris Conley, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, believes that Facebook should keep its users aware of everyone who sees their location.

Jeffrey Chester, of the Center for Digital Democracy, wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the app's new feature. A Facebook spokeswoman claims that Facebook already discusses its products with the FTC.

Location apps already exist with Tinder, Foursquare and Radar, an app that also tells Facebook users where their friends are.

The new app Cloak uses Foursquare and Instagram to help users locate people and avoid them.

Sources: Tech Crunch, Facebook, Wall Street Journal

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