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Facebook 'Nearby Friends' Wants To Broadcast Your Location Constantly Over The Web

04/22/2014 09:15 am 09:15:55 | Updated 22 April 2014

Facebook has unveiled a new 'feature' which lets you constantly track your friends' locations via GPS.

Oh, but don't worry - it's "optional".

The 'Nearby Friends' feature lets you use GPS and mobile phone signals to triangulate your position, and then broadcast it over the internet.

Any of your friends who have also opted-in to the feature can then watch you move around the world.

The idea, Facebook says, is to make it easier to find friends when you're meeting at a specific, but hard-to-find location.

"Today we are beginning to roll out a new feature called Nearby Friends that you can choose to turn on. Nearby Friends helps you discover which friends are nearby or on the go.

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. 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."

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Facebook says that since both parties have to explicitly agree to sign up, there should be no accidental privacy issues. But some have also identified potential issues - such as an individual forgetting to turn off the feature or delete their records.

There's also the question of whether Facebook will try to make money from the data.

Right now the social network says the feature is not being used "currently" for advertising.

Facebook's Andrea Vaccari told Business Insider (in an indirect quote):

"Nearby Friends will not be usable by business Pages that you're fans of — so local restaurants and stores won't be pinging you with offers when you walk by".

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