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Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) novel, but controversial move to broaden its mobile experience has ended before it could even take off properly. The social network has pulled a feature that let users get a list of other members of the site in their physical proximity just a day after launching it quietly. Find Friends Nearby was appearing on Facebook’s Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android apps, as well as on its own mobile page on Monday, but was gone by Tuesday morning.
“This wasn’t a formal release — this was something that a few engineers were testing,” a Facebook spokeswoman told CNN. “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.”
A Facebook engineer who said he had designed the product told TechCrunch on Monday that the feature’s ideal use was to easily look up someone who you were meeting in person and add them as a friend. “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,” Ryan Patterson wrote. “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.”
However, the feature seemed to make itself open to criticism for its potential to give strangers access to your Facebook profile.
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