According to techtalkarena, Facebook is phasing out several services that tracked your real-time location, including Nearby Friends, weather alerts, location history, and background location, due to “low usage.” Facebook says it will stop collecting data associated with these features on May 31st and will wipe any stored data on August 1st, according to a notification sent to people who have previously used the feature.

Techtalkarena, received confirmation from Facebook parent company Meta. “While we’re deprecating some location-based features on Facebook due to low usage,” Facebook spokesperson Emil Vazquez said in an emailed statement. “People can still use Location Services to manage how their location information is collected and used.”

However, this does not imply that Facebook will stop collecting location data entirely. According to Facebook’s note to users, it will “continue collecting location information for other experiences” in order to serve relevant ads and location check-ins in accordance with its data policy. Within the Settings and Privacy menu, you can view, download, or delete any location data that the platform has saved. Otherwise, on August 1st, Facebook will automatically delete any data related to its defunct services.

I doubt many of us will be disappointed to see these features disappear. (It doesn’t appear that many people rely on Facebook for weather updates these days.) Nearby Friends, introduced by Facebook in 2014, allowed you to share your real-time location with your friends — and vice versa — with the goal of arranging in-person hangouts with people in your immediate vicinity. Its popularity waned over time as similar features 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 features is actually a relief. Following a report that revealed Facebook tracked users’ locations if they made a “credible” threat, Facebook began allowing Android users to turn off background location tracking in 2019. (Apple already allows users to disable location tracking for certain apps.)

The full Facebook message to users can be found here:

Because you’ve previously used Nearby Friends, Weather alerts, Location History or Background Location, we’re letting you know that these products and features will no longer be available after May 31, 2022. Information you shared that was used for these experiences, including Location History and Background Location, will stop being collected after May 31, 2022, even if you have previously enabled them. Facebook will otherwise continue collecting location information for other experiences as described in our Data Policy.

Update your settings

You can update your current Location History and Background Location settings in the Facebook App until May 31, 2022. After this date, the settings will be disabled.

Accessing your Location History

If you want to view or delete your existing Location History, you can access your information and download your information before Aug 1, 2022. After this date, if you do nothing, your existing Location History information will be automatically deleted.


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