One day into it’s release, the hubbub over Facebook Places continues. The reactions range from those of Facebook fanboys who are thrilled to check out the next big thing, to angry slams coming from the privacy groups once again offended by Facebook’s developers.
PCWorld’s Ian Paul recently wrote about the privacy issues raised by Places. I, personally, am not so concerned about this. My Facebook friends already have the ability to tag me in their status updates. This really isn’t so different, and I can always opt out. I’ve heard some people complain that their Facebook friends will “get them in trouble” by checking them in somewhere they shouldn’t be. Again, I’m not worried about this. A person cannot check someone else in without first checking themselves in to the same place. In other words, if my friend wants to pull a prank and tell everyone that I’m at Al’s Fun House, she’s going to have to tag along, too. If, for some reason, my friend has no problem telling the world about her illicit activities, I can still opt out of letting friends tag me in Places, or I can go back and delete the tags that I don’t want people to view. This really isn’t different than anything else on Facebook.
While Foursquare does have the benefit of incorporating a game and prizes in the form of badges and mayorships to draw people in, I’m not really convinced that they’re completely okay with Facebook encroaching on the territory Foursquare has held for the last 3 years. I’m not convinced that Facebook has entered into Places innocently, as a natural business expansion…especially after a friend pointed this out:
Do you see what I see? It’s a four. In a square. Really, Facebook? Is that a method of not-so-subtly rubbing salt in the wound, an appropriate tribute, or just mere coincidence? What do you think? What should Foursquare’s response to Places be?