nearby friends

How to Disable Nearby Friends on Facebook

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Nearby Friends is Facebook’s newest feature that allows your nearly exact location, or your child’s, to be identified so that those in the same geographic area can meet up. Although it may be a useful tool for adults, it is a danger for younger users who can’t understand the significance of disclosing one’s location online. Consider what it means if your son or daughter is utilizing the Nearby Friends feature: Everywhere they go, any time of the day, every single person on their friends list will be able to locate them at their physical location. Think of Nearby Friends as a beacon that broadcasts your child’s location 24/7.

The function does not allow users to make their location public and has “Friends” as the default setting for which users can see your location. The audience can also be specified further, using any pre-existing groups saved on Facebook such as “Family Members,” in which case only users who you’ve put in that group would be able to see your location.

The feature does not activate automatically and may still be unavailable on your device. If it is indeed available on your child’s device, or they have enabled it, it will appear above the chat feature, which can be activated by clicking the icon in the top right corner or swiping to the left from News Feed.

Here is how to turn off Nearby Friends and clear any location data gathered by the feature:

Open the Nearby Friends feature and click on the “Settings” button in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Change the setting to the “off” position to stop broadcasting the user’s location.

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In addition to turning off the feature, you may also want to delete the location history accumulated by the app that is stored in Facebook’s servers. Deleting the history is slightly more difficult than disabling the app, probably by design, but nonetheless it can be done. To delete the data, click on the “More” button in the lower right hand corner of the app. Scroll down until you find “Activity Log” then “Filter” and then scroll to the bottom of that screen and choose “Location History.” It can be deleted one day at a time, or all of the data can be deleted simultaneously.

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