Facebook Ups The Creep-Factor By Allowing Users To Find ‘Nearby Friends’

facebookThe stalking capabilities associated with Facebook just increased. The social network has always allowed your friends to follow your every move – where you ate last night and who you’ve been photographed with last week. But with a new update, Facebook is taking friend stalking to an entirely new level.

Facebook’s Nearby Friends feature, which is currently being tested by the company’s employees, allows users to see which of their friends are close by, Mashable reports.

Much like the iPhone’s Find My Friends program, Nearby Friends uses geolocation technology in a users’ smartphone to determine which Facebook friends are close by to send notifications.

“The mission of Facebook is to connect people, to bring people together,” Andrea Vaccari, the product manager for the new feature, tells Mashable. “Nearby Friends sort of pushes that forward by making it a little easier to find new opportunities to meet your friends while you’re out and about.”

Using the new feature is fairly simple. Consumers can opt-in to the program, and then select a group of friends to share their location. The information will not be shared with the public or friends of friends on the network. Mobile users who choose to opt-out of the program will not have their locations shared.

The program will only share a friends’ general location such as “Bob is two miles away”. However, users can choose to share their exact location with a specific friend for an indefinite amount of time.

Users of the program can manually switch it off at any time and delete their data from the servers at anytime, officials with Facebook say.

Nearby Friends is the product of Facebook’s 2012 acquisition of Glancee, which was building similar technology.

Facebook Launches ‘Nearby Friends’ Location Feature for Meet-Ups IRL [Mashable]