Another Facebook User Privacy Blunder?
Facebook Places app was released this week without assuring adequate user rights of privacy in setting the default app settings to OFF. This would have enabled users to learn the full extents of the Places app before they chose to use it and potentially expose themselves or others locations. As a result, Facebook unleashed a firestorm of discomfort and even causing the ACLU to step in.
What is Facebook Places and How Can I Use It Securely?
Facebook Places is the location sharing “check in” service that allows you to share your location with friends or everyone or no one if you choose. Places enables Facebook users to check in to a location to make themselves discoverable to their friends or to everyone in Facebook.
Using Places is a way to find friends or to discover new people who have the same interest in the place you both are in when you “check in” using the Facebook Places app.
Places is currently available only in the United States.
Tagging and Control in Places
Places enables you to tag your friends or anyone else at a common location who has their Places settings set wide open to “Everyone.” This will notify your Facebook network and their network just like tagging them in a Photo or a Note.
Places Privacy and Discovery
According to Facebook, only your friends can see when you visit or are tagged at a place. However, if you have your Privacy Settings (http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy) set to “Everyone,” then anyone can discover your location.
Why? Setting to “Everyone” opens up your profile information to the entire Facebook network.
Tip: See Privacy for Places > Will my friends applications be able to
access to my location information? http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1080
14 Steps to Secure Your Facebook Places Privacy Settings
Not everyone wants nor chooses to be found or tagged by friends. It would have been good if Facebook had released the Places app with a default setting as non-Discoverable. but they did not.
If you want more control over your Privacy and Tagging you just need to change your settings.
Disabling Places Tagging
Facebook Places does offer user location privacy with tagging control for those who choose not to participate in Places Tagging.
Turning off Places tagging will disable the ability for friends to check you in at any location, follow these steps:
Go to Privacy Settings
1. Select Account Settings. (upper right of the Facebook window under the Account Settings tab)
2. Change your Privacy Settings.
Tip: If logged into Facebook, just click or copy and paste this link:
3. Selecting Privacy settings will open the Choose Your Privacy Settings page.
4. Look for the Things I share section.
5. Find and Choose your Security Settings for “Places I check in to.”
6. Select your desired Level of Security to whom you want to make yourself discoverable if you choose to use Places to check in to a location.
a) “Everyone” broadcasts your location to everyone on the Facebook network, that’s 500 Million possible people.
b) “Friends of Friends” broadcasts your information to your friends and their friends networks.
c) “Friends Only” only broadcast your location to your immediate friend network.
d) Choosing “Custom” enables you to selectively choose who you want, or no one at all.
7. Selecting Custom give you the most restrictive options.
8. Custom Privacy enables you to make yourself visible no one at all by selecting Only Me. You can also set it to a select group or a few chosen friends.
How To Do It?
Privacy Settings > Customize setting > Things I share > Places I check in to > Customize > Select Make this visible to > [Select] ONLY ME
Control How Others Discover or Tag You in Places
9. Next, go to Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in to control others ability to tag you.
10. You can uncheck “Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in” to disable others from discovering your location. (see below image) Leaving “Enabled” checked will make you visible to friends and any other people on Facebook checked in nearby.
Secure Control Settings to Let Friends Check You In
11. You can Control settings to “Let Friends Check Me In.”
This will disable your location from being tagged to a place should a friend choose to tag you.
12. Go to the Things others share section and
13. Go to Friends can check me into Places options
14. Select your desired Level of Security
a) Enabled: allows others to check you in, and tag you.
b) Disable: prevents others from checking you in, or tagging you
Location Check-in and People Discovery with “People Here Now”
Since Facebook Places is a mobile app, in the “People Here Now” section, you can see others who are checked in with you at that place. This section is visible for a limited amount of time and only to people who are checked in there. That way you can meet other people who might share your interests.
Making Your Location Private after Checking-in
If you prefer not to appear in the People Here Now” section, uncheck the “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” privacy control.
How to Secure Your Mobile Settings
Check out this great slide show on Mashable for mobile users.
Learn More About Your Privacy on Facebook
Facebook Help: Facebook places
Facebook Blog; Places Launches
ACLU: Facebook Privacy Resources Page
- Facebook Places: Check This Out Before You Check In (aclunc.org)
- Is There a Gender Issue with Facebook Places? (blogher.com)
- Facebook makes its move on Foursquare with Places (amoswhite3.com)
- Summary Box: Facebook Places and privacy (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Facebook Places Launches: Check Your Privacy Settings (nowpublic.com)
- Who, What, When, and Now…Where (blog.facebook.com)
- How To Use Facebook Places (allfacebook.com)