Facebook might be criticized for a lot of privacy issues, but the upshot is that Facebook Apps are installed and available in so many peoples' phones and Facebook has unparalleled data about user's habits. This data is being put to very interesting advertising use as Facebook is today unleashing a hyper local targeted ad system that enables businesses to launch ads targeted to people within a mile of their business. The ultimate dream for many advertisers is that people who are walking within a city center will walk past their store and get some kind of ad within a notification or message that causes them to think, "Hey, I just saw that store. I should go check that out." These types of ads could be very powerful and effective for users of Facebook's ad platform.
However, this isn't the simplest task in the world and there are certain risks for Facebook here. If users aren't disturbed by the privacy implications and actually react well to this new and innovative form of local advertising, this feature could cause a lot of businesses to get more walk-in traffic and also get a lot of extra customers through their doors. Facebook has done a good job emphasizing a lot of mobile features lately, particularly with video ads, however, Facebook has also at times struggled with local features in previous attempts at hyper-local advertising related services.
This is just in time for the holiday shopping and gift giving period that is so critical to many types of brick and mortar establishments, so it will be interesting to see if this actually gets good use and if users respond to it well, although odds are that it will take longer than just a few months for companies to get familiar with the product and for for users to get accustomed to whatever ads they see. Is the next step for Facebook to launch some kind of alternative to Apple's Siri that can suggest nearby locations? That seems like a logical next step in Facebook's quest for worldwide domination.