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Facebook Will Discontinue Specific Location-Tracking Features Due To Their “Low Usage”

by Victoria Marian Belmis / May 16, 2022 12:48 PM EDT
Nearby Friends Interface

Facebook is discontinuing several services that track real-time location due to their "low usage," as noted by 9to5Mac. This might include features such as Nearby Friends, weather alerts, location history, and background location.

A notification was sent to people who've used the feature in the past. Facebook detailed that it will stop collecting data associated with these features on May 31st and will wipe any stored data on August 1st. The news was confirmed by Meta to The Verge.

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"While we're deprecating some location-based features on Facebook due to low usage, people can still use Location Services to manage how their location information is collected and used," spokesperson Emil Vazquez said in an emailed statement.

Discontinuing specific location tracking services doesn't mean Facebook will stop gathering data entirely. It was detailed in its note that Facebook will "continue collecting location information for other experiences" to serve up relevant ads and location check-ins in line with its data policy.

Users can view, download, or delete any location data the platform has already saved within the Settings and Privacy menu. Otherwise, Facebook will automatically delete any stored data related to its discontinued services on August 1st.

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Facebook introduced Nearby Friends in 2014. The service lets the Facebook app share your approximate ongoing location with your friends (and theirs with you) for the purpose of arranging in-person hangouts with people near you. Its function and popularity waned over the years after similar features became available on other platforms like Snapchat's Snap Map and Apple's Find My Friends.

The tech giant also started letting users on Android turn off background location tracking in 2019, in light of a report that revealed Facebook tracked users' locations if they made a "credible" threat.

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