A little over a year ago I wrote a personal blog post ranting about how Foursquare scared me. I was primarily concerned with the ability for followers of a Foursquare user to stalk the other user based on the ability to get a sense of a user’s routine by check in habits. I especially couldn’t fathom why anyone would ever check in at home, which could reveal the user’s home address. Creepy.
Foursquare has finally resolved this privacy hole by allowing members to use a new category called “Home,” which hides the address from anyone but a Foursquare user’s friends. If someone happens upon the venue page of your home and is not your friend on Foursquare, they will only see a zoomed out map with no map pin. Any mayorship, badges, or check ins shared on Twitter or Facebook will direct all users to a map without a specific location.
If you have already created a check in for your home, Foursquare is currently converting these venues to reflect the privacy changes and ensure all users who check in at home will no longer broadcast their exact location. Users can also change this category manually by going to the venue page on the Foursquare Web site and clicking “Report a Problem” for a list of flagging options. You will want to then select “Venue is my home.”
This new privacy feature on Foursquare will be a welcome change for most users, ensuring that those who already check in at home will be less likely to attract those stalkers I was once afraid of. This also alleviates my own fear of Foursquare, as I can now set up a “Home” venue without worrying about others finding out the exact location of my apartment. Instead, everyone can now know how often people like Chris Pirillo are really home.
What do you think of this new privacy feature from Foursquare? Will you be more likely to check-in at “home” now? Let us know what you think in the comments.