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Video: Facebook Places privacy settings

Since Facebook launched its Places check-in feature last night, I haven't seen any rush to take advantage of this location-based service. When I checked the Facebook site on my phone this afternoon, I saw only five people checked in: two other tech columnists, one Facebook employee, one co-worker with a history of trying out new technologies, and me.

That's good. I'd rather see people hold off on Places until they understand its implications -- and have checked their own privacy settings. To help with that, I recorded the video below to show my own suggested changes to the usual privacy settings governing who can see your check-ins, whether other friends can check you in and what Facebook applications on friends' profiles can do with your check-in data. Have a look--if you'd prefer a higher-resolution version, click over to the copy I've uploaded to YouTube--then share your own suggestions in the comments.

(Same-as-yesterday disclaimers: Post Co. Chairman Don Graham on Facebook board of directors, Post markets self on Facebook, blah blah blah.)

You might also want to read this critique of Places' privacy defaults by the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which suggests some ways Facebook could improve this feature's usefulness while protecting your privacy. You should also read this recap of an important exchange during the Q&A after Facebook's press event, in which a product manager admits that Facebook's system could result in people's homes becoming listed as public places. That's why you should never add somebody else's house as a location on any check-in service.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 19, 2010; 4:32 PM ET
Categories:  Location awareness , Privacy , Social media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Facebook adds 'Places' check-in feature
Next: Radio royalties fix: Require FM radios in phones?

Comments

ACLU-NC Response to Facebook: Today's Check-in

While the ACLU of Northern California and Facebook both agree that location information is very sensitive, we disagree that Places gives users adequate control of how and when to share this information.

We understand and appreciate the various privacy protections and options that are currently available to Facebook Places users. But there were some straightforward steps that we highlighted to Facebook that they could have taken to improve the privacy features before launch. Not having these common sense privacy protections has unfortunately overshadowed some of the safeguards that the Places team worked so hard to build into the product.

We have a responsibility to thoroughly analyze the privacy implications of new products and these were our initial concerns.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/bzQ09E

- the ACLU-NC "Demand your dotRights" campaign for digital privacy

Posted by: dotrights | August 19, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Be sure to read this story about MN Forward, the pro-Republican group that recently received a large donation from Target:

http://proposition13.blogspot.com/2010/08/news-about-mn-forward.html

Posted by: HitEleven | August 20, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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