As we’ve come to learn, updates are a dime a dozen with Facebook. Well, the newest update that just rolled out (for some of us, at least) is an offshoot of the Chat feature.
What Was Updated?
The one defining feature we can see so far is the “Nearby Friends” feature. It affects only personal profiles. We were told in April that Nearby Friends would gradually affect Facebook profiles in the following weeks, and it looks like it’s already doing so for some users.You may be one of them an not even know it!
The basic idea for Nearby Friends is that, whether or not you post on Facebook, you can allow your friends to see your general or specific location (even when in transit).
This is a rather intrusive idea, I know, but keep in mind that although technology has the capability of identifying our exact location on earth, the creators of Facebook are intentionally choosing to leave information non-precise for the common user. You may choose to be more specific when you wish for one friend to see where you are, but your general location is what is typically shown when users turn on Nearby Friends while yours is on simultaneously. Facebook will locate you within 1 to ½ mile of your location even though you could be tracked more precisely.
In an attempt to be more human-like, Facebook’s Nearby Friends could create a conundrum for those users who may not want to run into some Facebook friends. For instance, if you’re short on time, you may not want to begin a conversation with a long-winded friend who is shopping at the same store you are. For this reason, Facebook has done you a favor by keeping your location rather general. Even so, Nearby Friends could turn into a tool to dodge friends you do not wish to see.
But Wait, There’s More
With the entrance of Nearby Friends, Facebook is beginning to build a location log of all the places you’ve been. This log will be visible to you alone. Tweet this
Of course, you may want be more specific with whom you share your location. For instance, you may share your location with a solitary person you are meeting for breakfast. In addition, you have a say in how long that information is shared with your friend. This way, your friend can see your exact location for only a little while until your designated time runs out.
Don’t worry. Facebook will not enable Nearby Friends for you. The social site will ask your permission, and, of course, you may say no.
The takeaway here is, Nearby Friends could be a great tool, but could be a detriment as well. Privacy has been on everyone’s minds recently due to the online Heart Bleed scare as well as the introduction of Facebook’s privacy dinosaur, the “Zuckasaurus.” Don’t ignore the importance of regularly checking your privacy settings on social media. Your integrity and the integrity of your business depends on it. Explore your options in Nearby Friends and think creatively about how you could profit from using the feature.
To do this, start by opening your Facebook app on a mobile device, and click on the “More” icon on the bottom right. About half-way down, you’ll see Nearby Friends. When you click on that, you’ll see who is “nearby” based on the settings your friends have used. You’ll also notice the familiar Settings icon in the upper right of that view. That’s where you can modify who see’s your location, and adjust the settings on your Location History.
Has “Nearby Friends” shown up on your Facebook profile yet?