What you need to know
- Facebook is discontinuing location-based features, such as Nearby Friends and weather updates.
- The social media platform will stop collecting location data associated with these features.on May 31.
- You can download your location history before August 1, after which any stored information will be removed.
Facebook introduced Nearby Friends back in 2014 to let users share their real-time location in exchange for the ability to see if any of their virtual friends were in the vicinity. After eight years, the company, now known as Meta, is discontinuing the feature, as well as other location-tracking services.
The Meta-owned service has declared via emails and News Feed notifications that it is discontinuing Facebook's features that collect your current location data (via 9to5Mac). In addition to Nearby Friends, these features include weather alerts, location history, and background location.
Android Central couldn't immediately reach Meta for comment, but the company told The Verge that these features are being deprecated "due to low usage."
Even if you've previously enabled these features, Facebook said it will stop collecting information associated with them after May 31. You can change your current Location History and Background Location settings in the Facebook app prior to that date.
Any location data you've shared with Facebook will be deleted by August 1. This means you have a little more than two months before that date to save a copy of your location history.
"If you want to view or delete your existing Location History, you can access your information and download your information before Aug 1, 2022," Facebook said in a notice to users. "After this date, if you do nothing, your existing Location History information will be automatically deleted."
However, this latest move does not imply that Facebook intends to stop collecting your location data. According to the social media giant, it will continue to collect this type of data in order to fine-tune other experiences on the platform in accordance with its data policy.
Users can still control how their location information is collected by using the app's location services.
This is a welcome change for those who are hesitant to share their current location with Facebook, particularly as public trust in the company's ability to protect their privacy has waned. Earlier this year, Meta paid $90 million to settle a decade-old privacy lawsuit in which Facebook was accused of tracking users online in 2010 and 2011 even if they were signed out of their accounts.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.