Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dangers of Facebook Places Maps

In your profile page on Facebook timeline, you'll see Places.

Location based status updates -- in stealth mode. Involuntary. Difficult to manage. "Frictionless" surveillance.

What is Facebook Places?

It's a data mined map of every place you've been lately. Stalkers, predators, your angry ex, enemies you don't even know you have, and other ne'er-do-wells are ecstatic, they LOVE it. Now they know where you or your kids hang out. Now burglars know if you're home or away on a trip. Welcome to Involuntary ('frictionless") Foursquare-type Check-ins.

You, especially if you're a woman, a youth, elderly, or disabled, are now far more vulnerable.

The city is what Facebook claims they display, but in reality, your location that you mention in a post, or that Facebook determines based on data mining algorithm, ends up being a pin on a specific street on a map.

What happens when you mess with the location icon at the bottom left corner of a wall post -- as you type it in your status update? 

When you click on that icon, a list of Places appears in a drop down menu. In my case, it's a list of restaurants, stores, and other locations that I've mentioned, but most of these spots are places I don't go to, I just discussed them in a post. 

This is a very stupid "feature". You parents better look into the maps that Facebook is creating on your children's Facebook profiles. Single ladies? Elderly? Feeble or disabled? Be careful.

How can you protect your privacy (there's that dirty word that total transparency freaks, corporate advertisers, official surveillance thugs, and identity theft criminals hate)? How can you keep your locations and places you visit away from prying eyes?

It's very convoluted and mysterious, of course. Sharing Where You Are is promoted like it's a good thing, but in reality, it's a stupid, useless, and potentially dangerous thing. If you want someone to know where you are, text, phone, or email them. Automatically displaying it on social media is unwise.

Facebook states:


Turn location on or off, up front.

The location button (second icon from the left at the bottom of a post) in the sharing tool lets you add your general location to all of your posts after you turn it on and until you turn it off. You can also add a specific place, like a restaurant or park, to your posts.

Don't want to add your general location to all of your posts? You can turn off this feature at any time.

How do I remove my location from a post before I share it?

We suggest a general location for your post. If our suggestion isn’t accurate or you don’t want to include it, you can remove it by clicking the “x” when you hover over the location tag. Then if you’d like, you can fill in your current city yourself. 


1 comment:

Sarah Healey said...

I completely agree with you. I have been stalked by some bullies who claim to know everything I do even though I blocked them and made my profile private. I think this check in thing has a lot to do with it when they use friends profiles. Got so bad I had to get police involved. Indeed, Facebook were not thinking clearly when they introduced this. I feel for others who are vulnerable. It is a dangerous world. Thank you for sharing this. Regards, Sarah Healey.