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Facebook's Stalker App Is Here

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You know how much you appreciate when your Facebook (FB) friend insist on uploading “artistic” pictures of the half-eaten piece of pie they’re enjoying at a restaurant? Well, now you’ll be able to locate them, show up to the restaurant, pull up a chair, and throw the dessert right in their face before they get a chance to post it. Better yet, you can take your own picture of their whipped-creamed face and share it on your wall.  

Given that, for years, Google Latitude (GOOG) did this for users of Android, Windows Mobile (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), and BlackBerry (RIMM) devices, immediately followed by Foursquare and Grindr, a Facebook feature that uses GPS data to hook up users in real life has been a long time coming. Especially considering Facebook’s long-held “privacy schmivacy” policy.  

Nearly two months after Facebook added the location-based social discovery app Glancee to its product portfolio, the social network has quietly launched Find Friends Nearby. No official announcement has yet been made, but the feature became operational over the weekend on iOS and Android devices as well as on Facebook’s mobile website.

"For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one where when you're out with a group of people whom you've recently met and want to stay in contact with,” reported Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch. “Facebook search might be effective, or sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people with minimal friction.”

But the feature has the potential to create a new crop of would-be stalkers. Unlike Facebook’s existing check-in functionality that has allowed users to share their current location, Find Friends Nearby makes you visible to perfect strangers as long as they’re in your current vicinity. Your profile literally pops up on the screen of the Facebook user who’s checking you out across the bar.

Thankfully, the feature is opt-in only, so you needn’t necessarily become familiar with the process of filing restraining orders.  

And I can’t imagine any negative implications of Find Friends Nearby for 13 and under set when Facebook officially invites them aboard.

“Find Predators Nearby” anyone?

(See also: Facebook to Target the 13-and-Under Set and Facebook Allows Hated Family Members to Stalk, Thrive)
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.