Facebook’s New Friend Locator Raises Privacy Concerns

Facebook’s new “Nearby Friends” mobile app brings the company into the growing field of applications that can track the locations of its users, which could make the conveniences and privacy risks of that technology a part of everyday life with the addition of the social network’s vast audience.Facebook took then privacy-friendly step of making its new application optional for its 1.23 billion monthly users, rather than automatic, and also gave those who do opt-in the option to turn it on and off whenever they like. “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,” said Andrea Vaccari, product manager at Facebook in a release Thursday. “If you turn on Nearby Friends, you can also choose to share a precise location with the particular friends you choose for a set period of time, such as the next hour. When you share your precise location, the friend you choose will see exactly where you are on a map, which helps you find each other.”

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