Facebook Is Getting Rid Of This Location Feature Soon

According to a recent notification issued to Facebook iOS and Android apps, the tracking feature that currently allows users to track their friends, weather alerts, location history, and background location is getting removed on May 31, 2022. That leaves less than a month for users to make use of the feature, called Nearby Friends, which has been historically useful for planning events and get-togethers going all the way back to 2014. When users opt-in, they can allow the GPS device or app on their smartphone or smartwatch to relay information back to Facebook, making them trackable by others.

After setting up Nearby Friends, you can then allow those on your list of friends to view your GPS location. You can also specify which group of friends you'd like to give access to your location. This feature only works when you give complete access to the Facebook app to use your device's GPS data at all times, which can potentially give the company even more of your personal information — something that has been a point of contention in the tech industry for quite some time.

Once you've activated the feature, you're then shown a live map that displays other Facebook users on your friend list that are also using the Nearby Friends feature, approximated to their relative (but not exact) location on the map. It also tells you how far away your friends are, and you can even call or message them from the Nearby Friends interface.

Access Nearby Friends and manage your Facebook data

The notification sent to Facebook app users suggests that once the Nearby Friends feature is gone, nothing that Meta's data collection policy will also change soon. Meta has not disclosed its reasoning behind the change as yet. Nearby Friends is still available until May 31, and during that time it could still be worth removing any information that you no longer want to be shared with the service. If you're using an iPhone, you'll want to access the Facebook app settings from your Settings menu and then disable Location services. On Android, you can navigate to the Facebook app settings from Facebook itself. You'll want to navigate to "Settings," then "Location Access," then turn off Location Services and Background Location.

Those who get the notification are also encouraged to begin downloading their Facebook information for safekeeping by August 1, 2022. Following the instructions on the app will lead you to where you can download your data, but it's always worth taking into account which information is available to Facebook. In the case that you don't use the app at all in favor of the desktop or mobile website, you can still access your data by navigating to "Settings & Privacy," then "Settings," then "Your Facebook Information." From this point, the company suggests that you should be able to download any information that Facebook has on you and potentially delete your Facebook account entirely.