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Facebook is making it easier to find nearby events

Forget invites — now you can search by location or category

Facebook events are one of the more maligned parts of the nearly ubiquitous social media platform — invitations to them come often, sometimes seemingly out of nowhere, and they have a tendency to bombard users with notifications. But the company is trying to change that today with a new feature in its iOS app that better surfaces all the events that are happening around you.

While Facebook has let you search for nearby events in the past, the app now presents them in a much cleaner manner, and also affords more granular control. Users can browse events in 10 major cities, and sift through them using categories like "nightlife," or "sports and fitness," or "music." Users will also be able search for events in other locations, too, which sort of flips how Facebook events really work when you think about it; instead of accepting an invite to an event and planning your day around it, now it will be easier to find something happening wherever (and whenever) you want to go.

This doesn't kill the invite, but it makes it less important

In many ways, the idea sounds like applying the Foursquare or Yelp model to events. Both services have dipped into featuring events in the past, but neither company has them as a primary focus. Facebook isn't necessarily doing that here, and there's no way to search for events on a map, but its massive user base and popularity on mobile — regardless of how many apps it releases — will give the company a huge advantage should it decide to take an even bigger bite out of the events business.

The new "events discovery" feature will be available in the newest update to the Facebook iOS app, which should hit the App Store later today. Android and desktop version will follow soon after.