Facebook on Tuesday morning announced that it has pulled its new “Find Friends Nearby” feature. The company called the release of the option a “test” but its decision to remove the option was clearly a result of lawsuit threats made by the develop of mobile app Friendthem.
First known as “Friendshake” the “Find Friends Nearby” feature was said to have been created by Facebook engineers during a recent hackathon, however Friendthem CEO Charles Sankowich claims he told Facebook executives about his company’s own friend finding option months ago.
A representative for Facebook Mashable:
“This wasn’t a formal release — this was something that a few engineers were testing. 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.”
Friendthem first created the idea for the platform when they combined GPS technology with a friend finder to locate already friended Facebook users and to discover potential new friends in a users vicinity.
According to Sankowich:
“I was amazed on Sunday to read that Facebook is blatantly stealing our idea with what they are calling ‘Find Friends Nearby. Facebook engineer Ryan Patterson claims the feature was born at a hackathon as ‘Friendshake,’ but we believe they simply stole trademarked materials of Friendthem.com. We are consulting attorneys and assuming this is true and expect to commence a lawsuit very shortly.”
After he discovered the feature to be missing from Facebook’s platform on Tuesday the Friendthem CEO said:
“We are continuing to explore all options pertaining to filing a suit against Facebook and we will continue to seek all necessary information regarding the matter. We were pleased to see that our voice has been heard and Facebook has made the right judgment to pull the feature. We strongly believe that Facebook’s decision to explore the location based friend request shows the importance and need surrounding our service.”
The though of Facebook stealing another company’s public technology seems a bit odd considering the social networks recent acquisitions of technology and company’s it believes could be of benefit for the future of its platform.