Stalker App? Facebook Kills Friend Finding Feature
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
A few days ago Facebook rolled out a little feature called 'Friends Nearby' that was, well, potentially a stalker's dream come true.
That might be why the social network decided to nix the feature just a few hours after its 'release.'
'Friends Nearby' allowed users to activate a feature on their Facebook app that would use your phone's GPS to determine your location and bring up people around your location. However, once the user exited the 'Friends Nearby' page, the location finder would turn off.
'Friends Nearby' shared similarities with another application called Highlight.
Highlight, which was introduced at the technology conference South by Southwest earlier this year, allows users to view profiles of people around them. It shares the names, mutual friends, pictures and other information Highlight users decide to share with people using the same app nearby.
Facebook never officially announced the 'Friends Nearby' feature on its website because the product was under testing, according to a company spokesperson.
“This wasn't a formal release - this was something that a few engineers were testing. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don't. Nothing more to say on this for now – we'll communicate to everyone when there is something to say,” the spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC.
But with privacy concerns weighing on the social giant, Facebook may not want to officially launch the 'Friends Nearby' product again.
The social network firm has taken heat recently from users for changing the display of its users' email addresseswithout permission. Users default email was changed to their Facebook username followed by @facebook.com.
Facebook has also been the target of criticism by government authorities who say its privacy policies are too complex.
Most recently, Facebook agreed to add to its international privacy and compliance teamat the request of the Irish Deputy Data Protection Commissioner, Gary Davies.