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New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends 61

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Iain Thomson reports that Facebook is adding a new application called 'Nearby Friends' that alerts smartphone users when their friends are nearby. '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,' says Facebook in a statement. '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.' The feature, which is opt-in, allows users to select which friends get a warning that you are in the area, and prepare a subset of people who might like to know when you're near, if they have the Nearby Friends activated as well. According to Josh Constine what makes 'Nearby Friends' different than competitors and could give it an advantage is that it's centered around broadcasting proximity, not location. 'If someone's close, you'll know, and can ping them about their precise location and meeting up. Broadcasting location is creepy so we're less likely to share it, and can cause awkward drop-ins where someone tries to come see you when you didn't want them to.'"
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New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends

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  • by BisuDagger ( 3458447 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:08AM (#46786537)
    Then don't turn it on! GG.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:26AM (#46786613)
    I use Facebook so I don't have to see people in the flesh. This app would not help my anti-social preferences.
  • Google Latitude (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cyfun ( 667564 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:28AM (#46786619) Homepage

    Didn't Google Latitude do this like 5 years ago?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Rhaban ( 987410 )

      We’ll never know, none of the 7 google latitude users ever got within 20 miles from each others.

    • by mmell ( 832646 )
      Yeah, I tried it. Never convinced anybody I know except my wife to try it with me (well - convinced my son, but only because he needed to borrow my truck on a short term, regular basis - and only after I pointed out that he only needed to turn it on when he was using my truck and could turn it off for all other purposes).

      Even trying it with that limited set of co-users, it only took a few days to realize how bad an idea this was for us and even for me in particular - and I am admittedly something of a fan

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      yeah it's pretty old hat as a feature. ..and really, if you don't want to be stalked by some dude, don't enable the nearby friends feature for that dude. simple as that, no?

      it's getting to the point with fb that if they add ANY feature that adds any connectivity possibility or something then someone will quickly write about how it enables stalking, surveillance or something else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:32AM (#46786625)

    I'd rather have a "people I don't want to meet" warning.

  • This can be great in some ways. However it can be very bad in others. Why is it social media is always wanting to creep for us?
  • Was this "feature" designed by divorce attorneys, or what?
    • Hmm so the fact that some people are unfaithful, lying scumbags, a group which seems to include you, makes this feature designed by divorce attorneys? Interesting. I would say it is more likely that Facebook is hoping to become the hub of people's social lives. If one isn't an unfaithful, lying scumbag, then one shouldn't have any problem.
  • In my younger days, we didn't have mobile phones, let alone facebook.

    How to meet your future spouse (2014)

    1. Enrol for a first year university subject with a broad cross-section of students e.g. Psychology or Italian for Beginners.
    2. Join your professor's facebook group.
    3. Enable proximity.
    4. Study in a large communal area near the cafeteria.
    5. Your phone beeps...

    So while the article mentions 'friends', enabling proximity for classmates would be a quick way to break the ice with a large group of people.

    • Doesn't being able to remember the faces of classmates and getting to know each other because that's what people do when they have even the slightest common bond inside a larger group of strangers, also suffice?

      • Well sure but teenagers exhibit shyness, which is one reason proximity-based hookup apps exist in the first place.

        I remember also that popular classes either had 200 or more people in the one lecture hall (too many to remember faces or engage with all of them) or were scheduled in smaller rooms across different days and times.

      • This simply accelerates and eases the process by allowing more interaction at a faster rate. This also increases the probability of meeting people on the other side of the classroom.
  • Pointless (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jabberw0k ( 62554 )
    Why bother spending time with "friends" In Real Life when they are only going to spend the whole time ignoring you, poking their thumbs at some greasy little cracked piece of glass? When did the world become this shallow?
  • by hodet ( 620484 ) on Friday April 18, 2014 @10:45AM (#46787377)

    Can't anybody just let life happen anymore? No more spontaneous meetups, no more random happenings. Everything orderly, predictable and uploadable for facebook to make money with. I'm no luddite, I spend a good amount of my life working with and using technology, but stuff like this? I guess this is where I diverge from the younger generation. To each his own I guess. Don't mean to come down as judgmental or anything, I would like to hear the other side and how this stuff actually makes life better.

    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      No more spontaneous meetups, no more random happenings. Everything orderly, predictable and uploadable for facebook to make money with.

      Umm.... the entire point of the app is to encourage spontaneous random meetups.

    • The problem is that life doesn't happen. How do you form a spontaneous meetup? I don't live in a country town. There could be 30 of my friends at my local shopping centre all day and I wouldn't bump into any of them. There's some 40 cafes within 2km of here, about 4 different cinemas, two of which are megaplexes and will show popular movies every 1 hour, hell even on the more esoteric side there's 3 bowling alleys within that 2km radius as well.

      The modern world is massive and we are spread thin. I tend to l

  • by Anonymous Coward

    FaceBook is just using this "app" as a tracking tool for their add business. Remember: YOU ARE THE PRODUCT!

  • If you use an app that's made for the specific purpose of telling you when your friends who also have that app are nearby, it will tell your friends that you're nearby! Audible fucking gasp! This has got to be the dumbest anti-facebook nonsense I've ever seen.
  • How would that even work? It has to broadcast your position. To Facebook. And once the first "triangulate your friends" app comes out, to everybody.
  • Most people I know (admittedly, an extremely minuscule subset of humanity or even FB users) instantly had a knee-jerk reaction of "ewww". Upon further thought, their considered reaction has universally been "hell, no"!
  • People still go to the theater to see movies?

    ...and Facebook users, at that?
  • So every time you walk by that convenience store you get a message telling you "Your friend Wal-Mart" is currently nearby?

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly