Facebook is officially introducing a feature it has toyed with in simpler form in the past, as the social network announced the launch of Nearby Friends in a Newsroom post, saying that it will be available to U.S. Android and iPhone users “in the coming weeks.”
Last December, Facebook began prompting users of its flagship iOS application to download its Facebook Messenger app, and the social network also began prompting mobile users to encourage their friends who had not yet downloaded Messenger to do so. Soon, according to reports by TechCrunch and The Verge, Facebook mobile users who wish to chat will not have a choice, as messages will no longer be available in its iOS and Android flagship apps.
This week brought good news and bad news to WhatsApp, the cross-platform mobile messaging company Facebook acquired in a $19 billion deal in February. The good news: WhatsApp announced in a tweet Tuesday that it set a record by handling 64 billion messages in 24 hours. The bad news: The traffic may have taken its toll, as WhatsApp was down for a few hours Wednesday morning.
Someone described as a person involved in Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of immersive virtual reality technology company Oculus VR told Nick Wingfield and Vindu Goel of The New York Times that the social network plans to redesign Oculus’ hardware and rebrand it with a Facebook interface and logo, but Facebook is officially denying the report.
Facebook emphatically denied allegations in a story in The Guardian asserting that the social network and other Internet companies “were fully aware” of the National Security Agency’s data collection as part of its Prism initiative.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan hosted reporters at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., Tuesday, where he detailed how the social network is maintaining and fine-tuning its security protocols in the wake of the continuing controversy about government surveillance.