Just launched last week in the US…coming to Australia soon!
What is ‘Facebook Places? Should you be worried? How can you disable it?
Facebook has just launched Facebook Places. It is an application that is downloaded to your phone It is a locater identifying where you are at a particular time if you ‘check in’. You can ‘check your friends in’ and they can ‘check you in’.
‘Places’ pages display recent activity from friends and other people who have checked in. Check-ins show up as status messages with a little pin logo similar to those seen on Google Maps, and are published to friends’ walls if they are tagged.
The product has three goals, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said:
- Helping people share where they are;
- Helping users see who’s around them;
- Helping users see what’s going on and discover new places.
Places product manager Michael Sharon says that, “Places is not about broadcasting your location to the world; it’s about sharing where you are with your friends.”
However if you do not disable it it can broadcast your location to the world and/or your friends can ‘check you in’ too. Facebook has made the assumption that you want to take part in this new feature so you need to actively turn it off if you don’t. If you want to control who can divulge your location, you can make this change pretty quickly through your privacy settings.
There are some concerns – the more information you broadcast about yourself online, the more that marketers, strangers, future or current employers and anyone else will know about you. What if your friends ‘check you in’ somewhere that you are not for a practical joke? Do you want burglars to know if you are not home? You need to consider what you are leaving behind in your ever-expanding digital trail. Do you want ads to target you based on demographic information you’ve left behind?