Don’t tag me on Places, bro.

Facebook Places launched last week, exploring their big chunk of mobile users, while establishing a weird sort of coo-petition with location startups GoWalla and Foursquare.

In a worrisome pattern for Facebook the usual backlash followed, again regarding privacy concerns. This time they got it half-right, by sharing location check-ins only to friends (and not everyone), but the big concern seems to be about the tagging. Facebook Places lets your tag you by default, but doesn’t offer any opt-in. Why is this troublesome? Let me give you an example:

– You go out with a few friends for a boys night out
– Your girlfriend stays at home, finishing some late report
– One of your friends checks-in at the restaurant. Your girlfriend likes the status on Facebook.
– After a few drinks at the bar/restaurant, one of your friends decides to check-in at the strip bar next door, even if you’re all heading home.

Well, good luck giving a reasonable explanation to your girlfriend. Even if you can remove the tag later, the harm is done.

Yes, i know they could do the same on Twitter, but there’s a big difference: On Facebook, your status becomes instantly visible, while on Twitter one has to perform a direct search, which requires a lot more effort (aka stalking). Furthermore, you might not be pleased at all to know there’s no full opt-out feature from Places.

As weird as it seems, Facebook could use some lessons from Orkut, who rightfully asks: ”You’re not always the same person. Why should it be any different on the Web”, something already explored by Paul Adams at Google.

We surely need to solve the filter failure problem.

One thought on “Don’t tag me on Places, bro.

  1. thanks for that man! awesome idea and thoroughly interesting read. ive been trying to convince my boys that we should have a proper curry night-in instead of going out every week, and actually did it last week. superb success, i can tell you! i found a tasty chicken and a few others from this wicked curry recipe site, and even makde the naan myself too! who said guys cant cook!

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