On Thursday, Facebook rolled out a new way to creep on your “friends.” The new mobile feature will let you know when someone on your friends list is nearby and will likewise alert your friends that you’re just around the corner. Thankfully, the feature, called Nearby Friends, isn’t automatically activated. Users must opt-in and then turn the feature on.
What sounds like a terrifying concept does have a few safeguards. On top of being able to opt-out altogether, if you do opt in, users can allow certain users to not see their location. And if a friend wants to see your location, their location must also be available to you. Not so creepy after all!
The feature also allows you to share your specific location for a set period of time; users sad about losing Latitude should be happy with that. Say you’re meeting someone in a large and/or crowded location. The app will share your location with your friend and then they can use the map to locate you.
If you happen to just be casually creeping on Nearby Friends and notice that your friend is in a neighborhood you enjoy, you also have the option of sending them an unwarranted suggestion.
We all know apps have a way of taking a turn for the unintended in the hands of the masses. It makes us wonder how long it will be until people start using this app in a Grindr or Tinder sort of way. Even though all your “friends” are supposed to be friends, we know way better than that.
The feature will continue rolling out over a period of a few weeks. Do you think you’ll opt in or will this cause too many privacy problems?