Every so often I check my Facebook settings to make sure they didn’t surreptitiously change my privacy settings. Last night I checked my “Nearby Friends” setting to make sure I’m not sharing my current location to hundreds of people I don’t really know. It was turned off. Good!
Except, wait a minute… Near the bottom of the screen was a message that said: “100 friends are sharing their location with you” with thumbnails of a few friend’s profile pictures. Looking at the profile pictures I instantly recognized many of them. Some are likely sharing their location on purpose. Some I’m pretty sure are unknowingly sharing their location. If you want to double check your Nearby Friends setting read on.
Follow the instructions below to turn Nearby Friends on or off on an iPhone or Android (Android displayed below but instructions are the same):
1. Tap More
2. Tap Nearby Friends
4. In the Nearby Friends section slide to Off
If you do want to share your location but only with a select group of friends, you’ll need to log into Facebook on your laptop or desktop to create a custom Friends group. Follow the instructions below:
1. Go to your News Feed (easiest way to get there is to click on the Home button near the top right.)
2. Go the Friends section in the left column and hover your mouse over the word Friends. A “More” option will pop up; click on it.
3. You will now see your current Lists. You can either assign friends to an existing list that you want to use for Nearby Friends, or click on “Create List” to make a new one that you will use exclusively for this purpose.
4. Now you can go to your phone, select the list you just created, and turn on Nearby Friends to share your location with that list of Friends.
There you go! You now know how to turn off Facebook Nearby Friends or at least use it more responsibly.