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Where are you?

Tell the World, I want to get off

I now have available on my iPhone the new Facebook Places feature.
Notices that a small group of friends in UK suddenly started posting locations on Friday.
So I give it a go and hey, it works.
A quick “search” in the app gave me a list of possible locations I could be in that didn’t in the actual office but entering just the first three letters led to a precise match.
So then to play with it a bit.
I was able to see where my activated friends were. By this I mean those that had used the Places feature themselves.
So I knew that “Joe” that was sitting opposite was indeed at work coz Facebook told me so.
I spoke to a friend and got his permission to “check him in”. Did so and my status changed to include that I am with “Jim”.
Jim’s status, however, was completely unaffected, no status update.
Later, on the way home, I plotted my journey from train station to train station.
This did work well but felt a bit odd. I have yet to decide how I will use this feature. Perhaps as an alternative to the standard posts, unless I don’t want people to know where I am. So now people will be suspicious if we don’t post via Places.
Anyway, I used the several times without hiccups. Got a bit distracted at one station when it said “Lucy” was there. I didn’t know Lucy, or even heard of her before. But she was good looking, shared a lot of info on her profile and was very close.
I could have viewed a few more pics of her and wandered the station and found her. The feature also has a “near” rather than exact match. This can’t be right.

So we have two main issues to discuss:

  1. Checking in friends
  2. People in same location

The first ONLY posts to your status and by default is only visible to your friends.
The second is more worrying. I can hunt people close to me. Literally. Stalker heaven. Look who’s close. Like the look of them? Well now you know their name and probably a whole lot more.

Imagine, just imagine, how this could be abused.

My advice: use with caution and never when you are alone or vulnerable. It is a bit of fun and can be useful care is needed. As always, check your Facebook policies regularly.

Facebook Places is available on all major mobile platforms.
Here’s a short BBC article on the issue.

As always, open for comment.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Well, that’s the point

About harlekwinblog

"Thoughts of an idle mind." Information Security professional.


One thought on “Where are you?

  1. To stop friends check-in you in on Places…
    In Facebook go to Account, Privacy Settings
    Click Custom Settings
    …Find the section “Things others share”
    Next to the setting “Friends can check me in”
    Click “Edit settings”
    Disable the “Friends can check me in to places”
    Click “OK”

    Another privacy feature on Facebook to consider is in the “Things I share”.
    There is a setting called:
    ‘Include me in “People here now” afte I check in’.
    If enabled, this means that if you use Places to tell friends where you are then you will also tell EVERYONE checked in to that location.

    Posted by admin | 2010/09/20, 8:23 am

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