Facebook silently launched the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature recently which did exactly what its name suggests. With this new addition, the social giant wanted to take a step ahead with its mobile offerings as the feature was aimed at Facebook apps and its mobile site. As soon as news of the feature reached some users, it started facing criticism and was termed as a creepy and stalking app. The social network was quick to pull out the ‘Find Friends Nearby’ feature that uses GPS signal in phones to help find friends, before it got noticed by many others.
Find Friends Nearby pulled....
In the form of an update, ABC news reports that Facebook has an explanation why the feature was pulled out. Reportedly, in an official statement that they issued, Facebook claims that the feature was under test and it wasn’t a formal release. The report further claims that the feature was just something that the engineers were testing. "With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t. Nothing more to say on this for now, but we’ll communicate to everyone when there is something to say,” reads the official statement.
Facebook had sneakily updated its mobile offerings with the "Find Friends Nearby" feature. It was initially called Friendshake, but the name was then changed to Find Friends Nearby for simplicity. The feature essentially finds your Facebook friends who are near you and requires the user to turn on location services on their mobile device. Ryan Patterson, who built Find Friends had earlier revealed that the ideal use of this feature for him would be that if a user is out with a group of friends whom they have just met and wants to stay in touch with the new friends, Find Friends Nearby, with its recommendation system, is almost a better search tool than Facebook's native search tool. The feature not only provides you with information on which of your friends is nearby, but also which potential friends are nearby, that is, people you haven't added on the social network yet but you may have some sort of connection with. This could have been the reason why people may have felt as if they were being stalked all the time. While some users thought it was a great way to connect with new accountancies, several others felt that it was a clear invasion of privacy.
Facebook had acquired a start-up, called Glancee, which is a mobile app to find friends with similar interests nearby. So, it was obvious that a feature on similar lines was on the way. Facebook is infamous with its methods regarding security related issues. So, the initial flak received by the mobile feature may have compelled it to pull out the feature to avoid further criticism and even legal issues.