Last week Facebook unveiled its newest highly anticipated feature – Facebook Places. The application gives users the ability to “check-in,” much like Foursquare, to local places of interest. However, Facebook has added a twist.
How is this different from existing geo-tagging sites?
Facebook Places not only allows users to check-in to places but also allows them to check-in friends that are with them and see other users that have checked-in to the same location. Think of it like a Facebook photo tag, but of where you’re at right now.
How Do I “Check-In” to Places?
In order to use this new feature, you or someone who you’re with will need a smartphone. Currently, the iPhone is the only smartphone with an “app” for Places. With the others you’ll need to log in to the Facebook touch mobile site with a web browser that has geolocation and supports HTML 5.
What’s to Like About Places:
Attending a networking event? Want to see who’s already at a conference? This is a great way to find people that you might have missed connecting with if you didn’t know they were at the same location Think of all the concerts, sporting events, and outings you’ve attended where after the fact someone goes “I was there too, would have loved to see you!” This tool can help to make sure you don’t miss out on reconnecting or networking with friends and coworkers.
What You Might DISlike:
Many people like to stay connected for work but don’t want social media’s “big brother” like technology carrying over into their personal life. With products like Foursquare you can control which places and who see you check-ins; but with Places, if you don’t set your privacy settings your location can be made public by others. Eeek! The feature does give you the option to “de-tag” yourself, the same way as you can with a picture tag, but this would mean you’d have to be paying attention to your Facebook account to know you’ve been tagged.
How can I Manage/Disable Places? Below you’ll find three easy ways to help you keep your “Places” private!
1) Setting Who Can See Your Check-ins:
- Click on the Account Tab located at the top right of your homepage, then click on “Privacy Settings”.
- Next, locate the blue text towards the bottom that reads “Customize settings.” Click that.
- Here you’ll see a list of your privacy options for your Facebook page.
- Under the “Things I share” header, click the drop down menu next to “Places I check in to.” Facebook has set the default to “Friends Only” but just like the other privacy features you can select “Custom” and chose exactly who does or does not see your check-ins.
2) Disabling Friends from Checking You in to Places:
- Under the “Things Others Share” category and click on the drop down menu next to “Friends can check me in to Places” and choose “Disabled.” With this setting in place, you are the only one that has the ability to share your location.
3) Disabling “People Here Now”:
- This feature allows ANY Facebook user that has checked in to a location to see all the other people that are checked-in there. This list will include everyone, even if you are NOT friends.
- This feature should, by default, NOT be enabled by Facebook, but double check to make sure the box next to “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” is not checked.
Still have questions? Watch this video Facebook created to help explain Places and how to set your privacy settings.