Yesterday Facebook rolled out a new feature called Places that lets you and your friends check in to locations, Foursquare-style. If you'd prefer to keep your location private, or at least stop your friends from posting it, here's how.
If you're not convinced that posting your location can be a bad thing, check out PleaseRobMe for some evidence. Of course, if you're careful, check-ins aren't inherently a bad thing. Whether or not you want to disable them is entirely up to you, but Facebook—yet again—has made the assumption that you want to take part in all of their privacy-eroding new features. If you don't, or want a little more control over who can divulge your location, you can make this change pretty quickly through your privacy settings.
1) Log in to Facebook. From your Account menu, choose Privacy Settings. You'll get something like the picture below. Click the Customize option (if it isn't already selected) and then click the "Customize settings" link (it's the one next to the pencil below the table depicting your current privacy settings).
2) Under the "Things I Share" heading, all the way at the bottom (of that section), there are two things you may want to change. By default "Places I check in" should be set to only be visible by your friends. If you want to limit it more or less, use the drop down menu to do so. I set mine to "Only Me," which is as private as you're going to get. Below that option is "Include me in 'People Here Now' after I check in." It is enabled by default. This will let people know you're at a particular location via the location's page or in a search for people near you. Uncheck "Enable" if you don't want this.
3) Lastly—and this is the important one—if you don't want your friends to check you into Places, sharing your current location with a bunch of people you may or may not know, go down to the section called "Things Others Share" and find "Friends can check me in to Places." Initially, mine wasn't set to anything at all so the default option could be either choice. Regardless, set this to "Disabled" if you don't want your friends checking you in. Keep in mind that any friend could potentially check you in anywhere. You don't actually have to be there. If you don't want anyone playing a practical joke and checking you in to a strip club, for example, this is a good thing to turn off.
UPDATE: As commenter Ryan G. points out, your location can be shared with friends' applications as well. To turn that off, you have to go to a completely different section. Click the "Applications and Websites" link (pictured to the left) and then go to the "Info accessible through your friends" section. Click "Edit Settings" and you'll see a bunch of boxes. Anything checked is available to Facebook apps that your friends are using. The last checkbox in this section is "Places I've visited," so uncheck that if you don't want your friends' apps grabbing your location information as well.
Since this part is confusing a lot of people, here's a quick video to demonstrate how to edit your application settings:
And that's it! While it's not so great that you're opted-in to the new Places feature, fortunately it's pretty easy to opt-out.
Send an email to Adam Dachis, the author of this post, at email@example.com.
Your version of Internet Explorer is not supported. Please upgrade to the most recent version in order to view comments.thanks yet again for looking out for us. It continues to amaze me how often Facebook screws with our privacy as a default. Reply
*facepalm* Facebook, there have got to be like... a lot, of open letters about how you guys need to make this stuff an opt-in, rather than an opt-out process. I don't want to check into locations, and I don't want others to check in for me either.
Granted, I understand that "Friends only" is better than "Everyone," but really, how much better is it? Reply
Your friends will be able to share your check-ins with the applications they use to help create new social experiences with location. If you don't want to share your check-ins with your friends' applications, just uncheck the new box in your Privacy Settings under "Applications and Websites."
This should be added as an additional step to make sure your location is kept private (so friends' applications can't share your location).
Places is by default opt-in. You HAVE TO CHOOSE TO CHECK IN, after all. Also, the first time a friend tries to check you in, you are notified and have to select whether or not you want to allow friends to check you in. Even if you say yes, you are notified every time a friend checks you in and you can remove yourself, just like you can remove a tag of yourself from a photo.
Inform yourselves before you start ranting, people. Replyeleraama approved this comment
"Facebook—yet again—has made the assumption that you want to take part in all of their privacy-eroding new features."
I thought Lifehacker was open to new things? Clearly this doesn't apply to facebook, the cussing out of whom is evidently very fashionable recently. It's impossible to read an article regarding facebook without being reminded about the increasingly common trend of gangs of monkeys from brazil tracking people down and sodomising them in revenge for stealing their bananas via photos they were tagged in in a drunken college party, or simmilar. Your story about facebook enabling this feature didn't even make your top stories RSS feed. No wonder people are surprised about their 'constantly eroded privacy'.
I'd love to have this feature enabled in the UK; infact, I'm pissed off that it's US-only for the time being. Stop whinging about it and give it a try, rather than reporting how to disable it something like 15 hours after it was announced. Reply
If we peer under our tinfoil hats for a moment, sharing where you check in is, by default, only shared with your friends. More importantly, this would only happen if you [wait for it] actually checked in at a location, an act you, the human, would have to do. Reply
This is my method for disabling Facebook Places: "DON'T CHECK IN OR USE IT AT ALL!" ReplyUnionhawk approved this comment
Ok, any idea why I don't have the new privacy settings page??? I still got the old one, and doesn't show the pic you show above, but my girlfriend's does. ReplyAdam Dachis approved this comment
Crap, it opts you in by default? Nice to see Facebook took all that bad press about their privacy settings so seriously! Reply
I'm confused. How is this not automatically an opt-in? How would it know where I am if I don't, you know, tell it? Reply
I hate that these new features are automatically turned on. You basically have to police your profile daily to see they haven't changed your settings without your permission.
I'm so tempted to disable facebook altogether but unfortunately my mother in South Africa would be annoyed.
I don't understand the appeal of facebook places or Four Square. I don't think people realize that lots of people stalk your social media profiles, do you really want them to stalk you in person now? Reply
You should also mention, and disable these two thing:
Applications and Websites
Information accessible through your friends
uncheck 'currrent location' and 'places I've visited'
This should stop any info about your check-ins being shared. Yeah, right. ReplyCapitalJigga promoted this comment
Facebook gets on my nerves with the new "features" that are automatically on.
I am a teacher! Some of my colleagues (and my principal) are "friends." What a mess would ensue if a college friend thought it would be funny to check me in, just like your example, at a strip club or something else.
Those aren't the kinds of places I frequent, and even if it were, that's not something I want automatically shared with my boss!
Grr. I lock my facebook account down hard. It's frustrating that I have to keep patching holes in the wall! Reply
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
How to Disable Facebook Places- lifehacker