According to 9to5Mac, Facebook is suspending numerous features that monitored your real-time location, including Nearby Friends, weather warnings, location history, and background location. Facebook says it will stop collecting data linked with these features on May 31st and will destroy all saved data on August 1st, according to a message given to those who have previously used the service.
The Verge received confirmation from Facebook parent company Meta. “While we’re deprecating several location-based products on Facebook due to low usage,” Facebook spokesperson Emil Vazquez said in an emailed statement. “People may still utilize Location Services to customize how their location information is gathered and used.”
However, this does not imply that Facebook will stop collecting location data entirely. According to Facebook’s statement to users, it will “continue collecting location information for other experiences” in order to offer relevant advertising and location check-ins in accordance with its data policy. Within the Settings and Privacy menu, you may see, download, or erase any location data the platform has recorded. Otherwise, on August 1st, Facebook will immediately erase all data relating to its defunct services.
I doubt many of us will be disappointed to see these things go. (It doesn’t appear that many people rely on Facebook for weather updates these days.) Nearby Friends, launched by Facebook in 2014, allows you to share your real-time location with your friends — and vice versa — with the goal of scheduling in-person hangouts with folks in your immediate vicinity. Its popularity faded over time as rival applications such as Snapchat’s Snap Map and Apple’s Find My Friends gained traction.
Given Facebook’s track record when it comes to protecting users’ data, the removal of these location-based services is really a relief. Following a revelation that revealed Facebook recorded users’ movements if they made a “credible” threat, Facebook began allowing Android users to turn off background location monitoring in 2019. (Apple currently allows users to disable location monitoring for some apps.)