Just like how Instagram finally allows technology to catch up with the terrible cameras we once used because out technology was so bad, so too does Facebook’s new Find Friends Nearby allow us to see the people around us. When you open this new feature, available at fb.com/ffn from your mobile device, you’ll see “People nearby and have this page open.” The only purpose this function serves is to increase the connections Facebook has between its already signed-up online citizens – for those users, there’s no goodness to be gained here.
Facebook Engineer Ryan Petterson has claimed that this function was born of a Hackathon for Facebook and was originally named Friendshake. What we’ve got here is a lovely function that’s certainly interesting enough to move forward with and implement on Facebook applications, but as far as how real-life relationships are affected, this function is a poison.
As the mobile world seeks to connect users, so too do the humans behind those users disconnect. When turning meeting someone into a game becomes reality, Facebook is to blame for the deterioration of our once-friendly society. Mister Rogers would be very disappointed. Facebook is fabulously well suited for keeping families together over long distances with photos and video. Facebook is excellent at allowing one to get in contact with someone one had once known but lost contact with.
Facebook should never be used to meet new people. Especially when those new people are literally sitting in the same wi-fi network as you are. Find Friends Nearby is a project that should have stayed just that.