Facebook Places – Watch Out

Location-based services will continue to grow in usage and popularity, but it always seems to raise a red flag in my mind.  Maybe this is just me, but the feeling of a “big-brother” watching wherever I venture seems a bit disconcerting.  Is this too sci-fi of a reaction?  Yes, quite possibly.

NOTE:  I have tried location-based services and am not a person who is writing about something I have not tried.

I realize there is a tremendous advantage for people and business to use location-based services, and this is by no means a knock against any service or anyone who chooses to use foursquare, Gowalla or now Facebook Places.

I believe that Facebook did a nice roll out of Facebook Places by only including it with the iPhone or HTML5 ready smartphones and only in the United States.  This will help to work out any bugs from the masses before it adds on new apps for Blackberry, Android and other services across the globe.

Also, in a Facebook conversation with my friend Mike, he raised a legitimate concern over will the wall feed on Facebook now be cluttered by Place check-ins.  Great question, I guess we will find out very shortly.

The Facebook “Privacy Settings” are already defaulted so you will need to pay attention to this area if you choose to use Facebook Places.  Under “Privacy Settings”, click on “Customize Settings” to change your preferences.

Also, a potential concern arises from this announcement.  Facebook Places lets you “tag” others you are with at a particular location.  Is this similar to “tagging” a photo?  If so, people are now at risk of being “outted” by friends and co-workers.  For example: called into work sick but instead went to a movie.  Your friend checked into Facebook Places and tagged you without your knowing.  Potential issue could arise from this moment.  But alas, there was a great article posted yesterday entitled How to Disable Facebook Pages which may be of interest to some of you.

Social media will always have risks, it is how you use the services that minimize potential risk.