With Nearby Friends users who have it turned on will be notified periodically when their Facebook friends (who also have the feature turned on) are in the immediate area. It’s a feature that Facebook describes as something that help friends keep in touch or meet up, but it will not be without risk for young users (or perhaps even older users), in the event that you’re in the habit of accepting friends requests from just about anybody.
The feature is opt-in only, so by default it will be turned off until selected by a user. When turning it on, users can select which friends they want to be able to track their location, and can also allow some users to see your precise location on a map, even while you are moving.
Location-based social media is nothing new. Facebook check-ins have been around for a while, and other social apps like Instagram and Twitter can track location depending on a user’s settings.
After Nearby Friends rolls out, you can bet that Facebook’s teen population will be eager to try it out. Parents with teens who are Facebook users would be well served to have a conversation about keeping it turned off, and reiterating the importance of knowing who your “friends” are on social media.
As for me, there is no way I am ever turning this feature on.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.