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Facebook Ends "Find Friends Nearby"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Whether it was over privacy issues or accusations of allegedly stealing the idea from another mobile app, Facebook ended its new "Find Friends Nearby" feature as mysteriously as it began.

    Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson started the project at a hackathon, but now after only 24 hours its Facebook page is blank. "This wasn't a formal release — this was something that a few engineers were testing," Patterson said, according to The Verge. "With all tests, some get released as full products, others don't. Nothing more to say on this for now — we'll communicate to everyone when there is something to say."

    The chief executive officer of mobile app Friendthem also had a lot to say about "Find Friends Nearby," according to the Next Web. He said that he had talked about the idea with Facebook in February, before the social network acquired mobile app Glancee which also finds nearby friends.

    "We are consulting attorneys and assuming this is true and expect to commence a lawsuit very shortly," Charles Sankowich, CEO of Friendthem, told the Next Web. "One would think that Facebook would have learned to play fair after being through the mud previously with legal difficulties, but now they are doing it again." 

    So whether Facebook yanked the feature because of the public outcry or a threatened lawsuit is unknown. However, since Facebook already has facial recognition software, we suspect this isn't the last we will see of a feature that will find our friends' locations.