Facebook Places – your default privacy exposed

In Episode 28 of TheSocialGeeks last night we dug into the announcement yesterday on Facebook Places.  If you are one of the 500 million members of Facebook and have not heard about this yet, your default privacy settings allow others to “check you in” to places you are visiting.  While this can be undone, if you hardly use Facebook but have a profile on the network, you could have people mapping your locations for you.  Recall my article on how I like to Check in when I check out.

Courtesy: Telegraph

Courtesy: Telegraph

What does this mean for your privacy?  Your habits, places of preference and more leave your immediate control.  Sure, you can remove the tag of you in that location, but aggregators and Facebook themselves have already seen it.  Advertising dollars are built around it.  Even the ACLU in California has stepped in to write an article on the topic:

Places allows your friends to tag you when they check in somewhere, and Facebook makes it very easy to say “yes” to allowing your friends to check in for you. But when it comes to opting out of that feature, you  are only given a “not now” option (aka ask me again later). “No” isn’t one of the easy options.

One of the other factors invading on your privacy is the controls around “Here Now”.  Many of the added applications you have nejoyed have been authorized full access to you profile data.  So as soon as someone tags you in a Place, or you do it yourself, that information may be passed along to the other applications.  You will need to review the apps to see what data access they have as well.

So what do you do?

  • Use the service carefully
  • Set the privacy controls before anyone starts tagging you in Places
  • Limit who can see your Places
  • Tag yourself only in public arenas and maybe when you are leaving in most instances (not arrival unless it is a meeting)
  • Read the tutorial written by DotRights.org on this topic of the steps you need to take

Location services are a constant topic I write about and Facebook exploding the ability to 500 million users without granular privacy controls could change the landscape.

Also, catch up on the recent podcasts from TheSocialGeeks where you get to hear a roundtable of the top social media minds go after these topics.