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New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the I-won't-be-ignored dept.

Facebook 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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"'If you turn on Nearby Friends" (5, Insightful)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 9 months ago | (#46786537)

Then don't turn it on! GG.

Re:"'If you turn on Nearby Friends" (5, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 9 months ago | (#46786627)

This feature is actually a killer app on the dating phone apps. When you're logged in it encourages meeting new people directly because the apps shows you two are close by, (or not). It's a huge icebreaker to say "hey, looks like you're about five blocks from me, wanna get coffee?"

So for the Facebook aspect I'd focus on the implementation of the Opt-In (to make sure no Facebook silliness is going on), then the key is you *toggle* it on and off all day.

"No Facebook silliness is going on" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786879)


Hope you're not holding your breath on that one.

Re:"'If you turn on Nearby Friends" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46788539)

Not to be Buz Killington on this, but I can't wait to see hackers exploit this.

Squirt Has It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787569)

Squirt.org has had it for years. Need a quick blow job? Go mobile with Squirt

Re:"'If you turn on Nearby Friends" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46790651)

Facebook never has my location. I use Tinfoil.

Facebook is stalking you anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786539)

There's nothing creepier about this; Facebook is already stalking you. What I want is a list of advertisers who are using that information to target me.

Re:Facebook is stalking you anyway (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787099)

Don't use facebook, delete your profile. There is no need to have or post your life online. Use addon for your browser like Adblock Plus, Betterprivacy, noscript, and ghostery. You will be better off for it.

Re:Facebook is stalking you anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787821)

Troll? Seriously? This is good advice....

Re:Facebook is stalking you anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46798499)

That's not an option for everyone. My apartment complex requires us to like their Facebook page in order to get access to their subleasing forum and related documents. They weren't doing this when I signed up for an apartment.

Sadly I can see more and more companies doing this in the future. A free form they don't need to manage, extra likes for PR, and access to more personal details of everyone they interact with.

planes vanish giant waves flip giant boats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786575)

no one knows where why,, must be god (never ending holycost chapter & verse, endless suffering followed by being fed to wild animals equals success) because we don't shake like that? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=weather+manipulation+sabotage not to mention the perfectly balanced numerologist warloks & wizards of payper jumping off roofs...

Useful for robbing friends' houses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786585)

Just check if they're nearby when you drive by their house. If they're not, break a window, just to be sure they're safe. And if they still don't respond, take all valuables from the house, for safekeeping. No telling what kind of person might crawl through that broken window and rob them!

New app needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786607)

We need a new smart phone app that lets one stalk celery.

Re:New app needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786711)

Der ver zwei peanuts, valking down der strasse, and von vas . . . assaulted! peanut.

This is completely backwards. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786613)

I use Facebook so I don't have to see people in the flesh. This app would not help my anti-social preferences.

Re:This is completely backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787121)

Using facebook and claiming to be anti-social is an oxymoron.

Re:This is completely backwards. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787943)

No it isn't. Posting your every move online and reading about others every move online is not socializing. This is equivalent to saying that a news reporter is socializing because they are talking to millions of people.

Re:This is completely backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46791401)

Interacting with others is socializing regardless if it's online or not. Posting your every move online is socializing. You are communicating to others your intentions, your life, who you are.... this is call socializing. So I stand by my statement. "Using facebook and claiming to be anti-social is an oxymoron." Thanks for playing.

Re:This is completely backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46791473)

Your argument is disingenuous. Posting your every move online, telling your friends what you are doing is nothing like a reporter reporting the news. You sound like an idiot and whoever uprated your comment is twice as stupid as you.

Google Latitude (4, Informative)

Cyfun (667564) | about 9 months ago | (#46786619)

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

Re:Google Latitude (1, Funny)

Rhaban (987410) | about 9 months ago | (#46787413)

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

Re:Google Latitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787815)

Maybe they didn't, but Wechat did exactly this a long time ago too, and I'm sure there are more than 7 Chinese users on it...

Re:Google Latitude (1)

mmell (832646) | about 9 months ago | (#46789623)

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 of technology for technology's sake. I've since taught my wife to look up my location with our cellular security solution (AVG) and ensured that the reverse works. Since then, I don't think either of us has ever used even that functionality.

Re:Google Latitude (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#46793803)

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.

How about nearby enemies? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786625)

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

Re:How about nearby enemies? (1)

Benno Hansen (3545593) | about 9 months ago | (#46789931)

There is 'Cloak' for iPhone and some other alternative for both Android and iPhone.

Re:How about nearby enemies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46794015)

Isn't that all nearby humanoids?

Hmmm.... (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 9 months ago | (#46786639)

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?

ordinary citizens stalked by 'civil' servants? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786651)

coversion at our finest (new wwword?) is there an app for that.... ah hah ha

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about 9 months ago | (#46786665)

Was this "feature" designed by divorce attorneys, or what?

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 9 months ago | (#46788339)

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.

Re:What could possibly go wrong? (1)

mmell (832646) | about 9 months ago | (#46789631)

What percentage of Facebook users do you suppose fall into that category?

Google Latitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46786677)

That's what made Google Latitude so great! I only had a few close friends (okay, I could only convince 2 close friends) to join. Whenever they were at a bar nearby or happened to be in town, we could know so there wouldn't be an awkward "What are you up to?" text message dance.

On-campus groups (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 9 months ago | (#46786823)

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.

Re:On-campus groups (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 9 months ago | (#46786869)

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?

Re:On-campus groups (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 9 months ago | (#46787059)

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.

Re:On-campus groups (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 9 months ago | (#46788373)

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 (1, Insightful)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 9 months ago | (#46787025)

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?

Yes, it lets "you" stalk your friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787131)

The question of who is logging that data never even enters the picture. Wake up!

Get off my lawn time.. (3, Interesting)

hodet (620484) | about 9 months ago | (#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.

the answer is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787929)


Re:Get off my lawn time.. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 9 months ago | (#46788787)

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.

Re:Get off my lawn time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46790889)

The internet of things is there to remove all random chance. Except for things the internet of things gets wrong like when it turns out the bicyclist borrowed his buddies helmet that day he feel down. The ER gets the helmet owner's rare blood type from a rare blood bank automatically which kills the cyclist instead of saving him.... but don't worry the internet of things as already arranged the owners funeral and billed his health insurance while starting the paperwork for his "widow" to collect the life insurance. It's printed out at home awaiting for her to sign and return. Oddly, you can trust computers with getting the patient's blood right but people will still need to sign important legal documents the old fashioned way. Now you might think the owner would come home to straighten all this out. But he wound up rotting in jail as a John Doe after trying to use a dead man credit card after the rumor of his death propagated through the internet of things. Also, they deleted his a whole season of Game Of Thrones from his TIVO knowing that his never going to be able to them again....

Re:Get off my lawn time.. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 9 months ago | (#46792477)

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 let life happen too and I end up with constant exchanges afterwards like
"Yeah we went to see Captain America."
"Oh really? We saw it at the same time but at %other shopping centre%."

The whole point of the world of information sharing is to get people together so that life can happen. I would say it's been probably about a year since I last bumped into someone randomly and changed plans so we could have a quick coffee or spend the afternoon together.

...Watches the Watchmen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46787451)

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

Re:...Watches the Watchmen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46788157)

yeah we kinda know that...you know?

Mooo! (1)

mmell (832646) | about 9 months ago | (#46789661)

...or is it "ba-a-h"? I always get those two confused.

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46788093)

Now my IMDB stalkers can stalk me on Facebook.

What a bunch of bullshit (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 9 months ago | (#46788177)

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.

Depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46788995)

Honestly, I find it a little depressing that this is what social interaction has come to. I have a facebook, but I certainly don't want facebook to consume my life. I know it's opt-in. The depressing part is most people will agree to it.

AFAIK you can't broadcast proximity (1)

Lumpio- (986581) | about 9 months ago | (#46789649)

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.

Yet another solution in search of a problem. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 9 months ago | (#46789699)

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"!

I'm amazed nobody mentioned this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46789827)

Mah mah mah Poker Face!

Seriously... poker players are going to fuck with each other so badly they'll be hilariously banned. I wonder if you can get them to display porn too.

huh? (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 9 months ago | (#46789905)

People still go to the theater to see movies?

...and Facebook users, at that?

Ex-wives and girlfriends unite?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46790177)

Can absolutely see ex wives and ex girlfriends getting this in order to bedevil their former fellas, especially if he is on a date with his new flame. Heeyyyyy Herbert, whose the doxie yer' wid' today, huh?! a%$hole? or...."Didja tell her yet dat' ya' only got a three inch wang about the size of a vienna sausage?.... Or the really killer line: "Heyyy Herb, where did you stash yer' gay blade that you were swappin' spit right here with when I saw your arse ______ ( insert last time you stalked him)." .....Course that works for the ex male friends, but they can not get away with the above or they would be arrested for hairyarze ment.

Why we can't have nice things (1)

Sepodati (746220) | about 9 months ago | (#46791127)

First, why would you have an ex as a friend on FB, still? Second, why would YOU choose to share your location with them?

Put aside the hate for a second and realise this is done right... or at least closer to right. It's opt-in, which solves the first problem most people have. Second, you specifically choose who you want to share with. It's not everyone by default. Yes, yes... you have to tell FB where you're at first. If you have a problem with that, you're probably not on FB, anyhow, so who cares?

I could see this being useful with the group of work friends I have. We all have families, so our plans are usually with them first. If we decided to go downtown, it'd be nice to see if someone else decided to do down, also. Our commissary/store is an hour away and everyone usually makes a trip down there every other weekend or so. Sometimes you run into them, sometimes you don't. Again, it'd be cool to get a little notice that someone is down there at the same time so we can bullshit in the foodcourt while the wives shop.

Nintendo 3DS Streetpass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46790795)

Looks like someone is copying Nintendo's ideas again.

Your so-called Facebook Friends (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 9 months ago | (#46791717)

So every time you walk by that convenience store you get a message telling you "Your friend Wal-Mart" is currently nearby?

Stalking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46792195)

So next will we get, similar to Google Street View, Facebook Window View?

If you're using Windows Phone, you're out of luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46792717)

In more ways than one...

AdultFriendFinders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46792735)

Hey AFF I want this for your app!
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