Due to limited use, Facebook suspends numerous features that monitor your real-time location, including Nearby Friends, weather warnings, location history, and background location. Facebook says in a message issued to those who have previously used the function that it will stop collecting data linked with these features on May 31st and will destroy all saved data on August 1st.

Meta, Facebook’s parent corporation, confirmed the revelation to The Verge. “While we’re deprecating some location-based products on Facebook due to low use,” stated spokesperson Emil Vazquez in an emailed statement, “customers may still utilize Location Services to choose how their location information is gathered and used.”

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This does not mean that Facebook will cease collecting location data entirely. According to the notice to users, Facebook will “continue collecting location information for other experiences” to offer relevant advertising and location check-ins by its data policy. Within the Settings and Privacy menu, you may see, download, or erase any location data that the platform has recorded. Otherwise, on August 1st, Facebook will immediately erase all saved data connected to its canceled services.

I doubt many of us will be saddened by the loss of these features. Nearby Friends, launched by Facebook in 2014, allows the Facebook app to share your current position with your friends — and vice versa — to schedule in-person hangouts with those nearby. Its popularity declined as rival applications, such as Snapchat’s Snap Map and Apple’s Find My Friends, gained traction.

Given Facebook’s track record for keeping users’ data private, 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 enables users to disable location monitoring for individual apps.)

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