Facebook Adjusts Nearby Friends Tracking & Introduces “Wave”

Back in 2014, Facebook launched an optional Nearby Friends feature integrated into the main Facebook app. As the name suggests, this functionality allowed you to share your exact location with your friends and find them on a digital map. Two years later, online privacy concerns are more common than ever, which is why the Menlo Park-based social media giant decided to change the said feature and replace its location sharing capabilities with something less precise and, consequently, less intrusive. More specifically, the company just started rolling out an update which eliminates the ability to pinpoint your location on a map. Instead, people who opt to activate the Nearby Friends functionality will now only appear in a list sorted by their approximate distance to your humble self. As this solution is obviously less intrusive than an actual map, it presents a smaller privacy risk if you forget to deactivate it.

Furthermore, the latest Facebook update also equips the Nearby Friends tab with a 'Wave' feature. This option was already in testing for a few weeks, and by all accounts, Facebook has now decided it's ready for a worldwide release. In short, this functionality works similarly to the Poke feature. Once you tap on the waving hand icon next to the name of your friend on the Nearby Friends tab, the app will display a short waving animation and notify the recipient of your gesture. Interestingly enough, you can also change your mind and reverse the decision which will remove the Wave notification from your friend's device. Once someone sees the Wave notification, they can tap on it to quickly get in touch with the person who waved to them.

If you're interested in trying out this new feature, open your Facebook app and click on the three-bar icon located to the right of the notification icon. From the following menu, scroll down and select Nearby Friends, after which you'll be prompted to turn on the feature and start sharing your location with all of your Facebook friends who also opted to participate in the program. Finally, the default Nearby Friends interface only provides you with an option to pause the functionality for a limited time, so if you want to switch it off permanently, you'll need to access the feature's options by tapping the gear icon in the top-right corner of the Nearby Friends interface.

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About the Author

Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]