Why did Facebook shelve its Find Friends Nearby app?
In one of the shortest-lived app releases in history, Facebook’s Find Friends Nearby app was quietly released by developers, and then even more quietly pulled in a matter of days. But why?
Truth be told, it’s all been a bit of a mess for the iOS app.
The idea of Find Friends Nearby was to make it easier for Facebook mobile users who have location services enabled to friend those they had only just met.
All well and good, but a wave of negative publicity – including bloggers nicknaming Find Friends Nearby ‘the stalking app’ – has forced the app down.
This would be a pretty appalling message for any company to give out, never mind one which has suffered negative publicity in the past for its somewhat capricious security levels.
Facebook was quick to downplay the magnitude of the release, telling Wired that it was more of a test and not a general release. “With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t”, they explained.
But security issues might not be the only reason Find Friends Nearby was given an early curtain call.
According to various reports, Facebook were about to be threatened by legal action from start-up FriendThem, whose product is an app which is “designed to help you make connections with people near you”.
Whether FriendThem will continue their lawsuit in the wake of Facebook withdrawing Find Friends Nearby remains to be seen.
Facebook’s bold mobile strategy is one of their big pushes for this year, so news of Mark Zuckerberg trying to expand Facebook’s mobile reach isn’t a surprise.
Given that Facebook acquired ambient location app Glancee last month as part of their ever-growing shopping list, this story does have the potential to run.
Why do you think Facebook has – for now – binned its Find Friends Nearby feature? Do you think Find Friends Nearby and FriendThem are rather similar? Is this the last we will see of Find Friends Nearby?
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