It seems like we can’t go a week without hearing about another new way some social media service is violating our privacy. This week’s catastrophe: Foursquare has update its privacy policy to show users’ full first and last names. Currently, only a first name and initial (such as Matt H.) is visible when a user checks-in.

In an email to users, Foursquare explained the reasoning behind the change. The location-based social media service said that many people have complained that the current setup is too confusing, and that this move is strictly for the sake of convenience.

Another amendment to Foursquare’s policy is the duration during which businesses can view detailed information regarding check-ins. Before this change, companies could only see check-in information within the past three hours. Now, they can view data about users that checked-in any time during the current day.


These changes are set to go into effect at the end of this coming January. But most of the concerns are likely unfounded. Foursquare has made an active effort to keep user data secure and within the comfort levels of users. The service released a document titled Privacy 101, which is designed to educate users on the network’s policies and guide them through privacy configurations. Furthermore, if users are concerned about their full name being exposed on check-ins, they are given the option to edit their name from within the settings section of their profile.

Foursquare is guiding this change in the right direction by letting users have full control over what kind of personal information is visible. Other social networks, like Facebook, have struggled to education users and placate their concerns regarding privacy. Though, Foursquare users may be in a slightly different boat. The network is much smaller than Facebook, and Foursquare exposes the personal information of time-based location tracking. It is reasonable to assume that users of Foursquare might have slightly different privacy concerns from Facebook users.

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