Earlier this week, Facebook added “where” to the list of personal information members share with the world. There was much speculation what this feature might mean for FourSquare and the subsequent riddles, “What happens when you add Foursquare to Facebook? (Answer: Facebook).
I’ve learned now that when Facebook announces a new feature, it is a signal for me to check into my settings and make sure that I’m happy with the way the default works. Do I want the world to know my location (if I choose to use that new feature?) Do I want to give my friends the ability to share my location with others?
These questions (and others) prompted a discussion about privacy concerns. The San Francisco office of the American Civil Liberties Union asked whether Places has again left Facebook members open to privacy problems. In article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a privacy expert gives some good advice:
Parry Aftab, one of several Internet safety experts who Facebook helped develop Places as part of a volunteer advisory board, said the feature does include enough controls to protect privacy.
But Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety.com, said people who use social networking and geo-location technologies need to learn what the controls are so they can protect themselves.
“If you’re going to play, it tells you what you need to do,” Aftab said. “If you don’t like it, you can turn it off. I won’t use it, but my guess is my daughter will. As we move forward and these things become more and more robust, the question is do you turn off new technologies that allow more interaction and sharing or do you make sure people are empowered to use them safely.”
2. Go to “customize”
3. Scroll to “things others share”
4. Disable “friends can check me into places.”
Facebook is doing a live stream at 11:00 am PST and you can find out more.