Facebook Nearby Friends (iPhone screenshot 001)

Social networking giant Facebook is bound to stir controversy all over again as it’s just introduced a new friend-tracking feature. Similar to Apple’s free Find My Friends iOS app, Facebook’s Nearby Friends basically notifies you when your friends are nearby.

It’s a rather radical idea, one Facebook said Thursday was designed to encourage people to “meet up and spend time together” in real life. Go figure. Learn more about Facebook’s Find My Friends right below the fold…

As depicted top of post, Facebook will push an alert to your Lock screen if there are friends nearby.

“For example, when you’re headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward,” explains the company.

To turn push notifications on or off for Nearby Friends, visit Account Settings > Notifications > Mobile Push.

According to Facebook, these alerts will be issued “occasionally.”

The new feature is optional and users have full control over who can see if they’re nearby or on the move. Other people will only see this information when they also share theirs with you.

Facebook Nearby Friends (Android screenshot 001)

Facebook explains:

Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby. Your friends will only be able to see that you’re nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.

Should you want, Nearby Friends allows you to share your precise location with a particular friend(s) for a set period of time. In order to share your precise location with someone, just tap the compass icon to the right of their name and choose whether you want to share your GPS coordinates for an hour, several hours or until you choose to stop.

You can also include a note when you share your location with a friend, which they will receive when they get the notification that you’re sharing your precise location with them.

This allows the other person or a group of friends to see exactly where you are on a map, in case you need to find each other in the physical world. Again, much like Apple’s Find My Friends.

Facebook Nearby Friends (iPhone screenshot 002)

It’s nice that Facebook does not opt in users to Nearby Friends by default.

You’ll have to opt in manually and turn on the feature yourself if you’re interested in giving it a whirl.

And when on the go, Nearby Friends will tell the friends who’re using the feature that you’re traveling. “You’ll be able to see the city or neighborhood they are in, including on their profile,” Facebook explains.

Nearby Friends is a staggered release and they’ve just started rolling it out today so it’s going to take a while until each and every one of the 1.3 billion Facebook users gains the feature. “Nearby Friends will be available on Android and iPhone in the US over the coming weeks,” says Facebook.

Now you know why Facebook’s iOS app has been hurting your battery: it’s been tracking your moves 24/7. Yes, Facebook for iPhone has indeed been found to drain your battery by constantly polling your location in the background.

Facebook hinted as much (emphasis mine):

Location History is a setting that allows Facebook to build a history of your precise location. When Location History is on, Facebook will add your precise location to the Location History section of your activity log, even if you leave the app.

The drastic solution to preventing the Facebook battery drain: disable Location Services and Background App Refresh for Facebook in your iOS Settings.


Speaking of Location History, know that turning on Nearby Friends also turns on Location History, but don’t worry – only you can see a history of your movement. “When you turn off Location History, Facebook will stop adding new information to the Location History section of your activity log,” explains the team.

Yes, you can easily delete either individual entries or your whole Location History.

It being a backend update, Nearby Friends shouldn’t require an iOS app update. The feature will appear right in your News Feed so keep your eyes peeled.

To learn more about Nearby Friends, check out Facebook’s help resources.

Will you be using Facebook’s Nearby Friends?

  • Title should read: Facebook launches a new app for stalkers lol

    • pegger1

      It’s not a new app. It’s a feature. And it’s not stalking, you have to give permission. I don’t think you even read the article.

      • Have you ever heard of sarcasm?

      • websyndicate


      • pegger1

        You really need to learn the definition of sarcasm then.

      • Oh really? Maybe you can give me the money to take the course.

      • websyndicate

        love seeing internet fights…..#not #sarcasm

      • Lol this is an epic fight man.
        *in the corner* spitting water out

      • Dean

        Facebook doesn’t need your permission to use it.

  • Frank Anthony

    NSA Alert! People beware. Now, Uninstalling Facebook related. This is just extreme. Can’t take it anymore.

    • So? As long as you not doing anything illegal and stupid.
      I for one don’t care, I normally take my mac in the bathroom so they can see me take a dump. Yeahhhh, sure that will make whoever watching regurgitate lol

      • Guest

        What’s the difference between your neighbor spying on your and the government? You should mind both. The government will use this information it gathers on you against you. ie. Venezuela, if you signed a petition for a new election to oust then president Chavez, they took the lists (as ATF is now doing with gun shops) and gave them to employers to fire their employees. After employees were fired they had an opportunity to get their job back if they signed an affidavit stated that they never signed the petition it was forged. Since you are gay, doesn’t it bother you that the government wants to know you’re gay? Why has the government labeled Christians as potential terrorists? Why are their mock US towns to do military drills with Churches? Why are their fema camps? Why is the postal service buying 140,000 hollow point bullets? Same goes for the USDA, Social Security office etc. Protect yourself.

    • websyndicate

      They already know your location. You phone has to talk to a tower and it triangulates your location to give you the best service. So if you are scared of people knowing where your at you should not carry a cellphone or use the internet or use a debit/credit card. My point is there is a paper trail like it or not.

    • You better just tear apart the GPS hardware embedded to your iPhone, oh and the wifi antenas too. Oh shit, also the 3g,4g,LTE ones too. You know what, just don’t get a phone at all.

    • Facebook can track your location, with or without this feature!

  • Anmol Malhotra

    Not for iPhone 4s/4 users… Battery is draining on them so fast.. This feature would add sooooo fast in my above sentence 😛

  • Martin

    This is a pretty neat thing to have. If you are outside all the time.

  • Robes

    Battery Drain issues. So yeah. No.

  • J. Rockwell

    When is Facebook going to launch the “Watch your friends while they sleep feature.” The one I have been really waiting for is the “wear your friends skin, as a cape feature.”

    • Anmol Malhotra

      How about “Last seen”?? 😀

  • That sound… creppy. A lot.
    That’s why I don’t have the Facebook app.

    • pegger1

      How is it creepy to let your friends know where you are?

      • Creepy is Facebook knowing where you are, even without sharing your location.
        This company has too much information about everyone, more than the acceptable, and they want more information.
        If it’s not creppy, I don’t know what it is.

      • pegger1

        Facebook only knows what you give it.
        Anyone who has issues with that, doesn’t have to use it.
        Stupid is the people that give that kind of info and then complain that they have it.

  • websyndicate

    I dont have a facebook account but this is cool. Assuming your facebook friends are really your friends. People complain about social networks taking up time and people never meet together in person. So this is a step in the right direction to visit with real friends. If your friends are broadcasting their location then they should assume someone can stop by at anytime….at lest I would assume that.

  • James Gunaca

    I wish I could turn off location services but still use it for checking in. I like to check-in at times, but don’t need Facebook knowing where I am at all times.

  • Eni

    i had a similar idea for years but i dont know how to code ore how to make an app 🙁

  • Jason Baroni

    RIP Privacy. Again.

  • Dani Hayes

    I didn’t read the article but I’m sure it’s dubbed “Stalk my friends”.

  • how the F do i turn this on

  • Biscuit

    I don’t use background refresh for any apps. Maybe I don’t understand the feature, since a lot of people seem to use it. Am I missing something?