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May 7, 2010

Facebook may debut 'location' feature this month

Posted: 11:43 AM ET

There's been plenty of online buzz recently about the possibility of "location" or "place" features coming to Facebook.

That sounds wonky. But the gist is interesting: You may soon be able to use a smartphone's GPS to post on Facebook about exactly where you are, in addition to what you're doing and thinking.

The latest news on this front comes from Advertising Age, which claims that Facebook will release such a feature this month. Among the first advertisers to jump on board, the site says, is McDonald's, which will let people "check in" to these fast-food chains through Facebook. McDonald's then would put ads about its food on your Facebook wall.

That might not sound entirely appetizing (especially if you're a Jamie Oliver fan), but there's plenty of excitement online about these location-based features.

Mobile phone apps like Foursquare and Gowalla have made them popular among tech's early adopters, who "check in" to their favorite stores, pubs and restaurants to earn points and merit badges. (Apparently, being a digital Boy Scout is cool.)

But Facebook could take this idea to the next level, bringing it to a user base of 400 million people.

CNN has not confirmed if or when Facebook will announce such location feature. At a recent news conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg dodged questions on the subject.

Such a feature - which could tell you where someone is almost all the time - also raises privacy concerns. And Facebook has not been having a good time of it on that front.

This week, a bug, which has since been fixed, temporarily caused private Facebook chats to be public to other friends. And Facebook's "Open Graph" system, which was announced at the f8 conference on April 21, has brought further concerns about preserving some degree of anonymity online.

More on the privacy angle from the blog Mashable, which is a CNN content partner:

"It’s clear that not all users understand the risks of public sharing or how to protect their likes, groups and updates. When they risk exposing their locations to the general populace, another layer of security precautions ... is sure to follow," the blog says.

Do you see any value in telling friends where you are? Before you judge, check out this helpful guide to using Foursquare, the service that has been paving the way for these location features.

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Jim H   May 7th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

If I need to tell where I am I will either call, email, or text that person or people directly. To announce it to the world at large is foolish and opens up opportunities for all kinds of ugly things to happen. When you leave home would you put a big sign out front announcing the place was empty and where you'd gone so it could be determined how long you'd be away? And if your significant other and/or your children were there alone is that something to tell the world? In a risk benefit analysis there is no benefit from telling everyone you know and expose that kind of information to justify the risks that may subject you and others, too. There is no technology such as this that criminals haven't found out about, adapted to, and used to their advantage.

This faux-celebrity status things like twitter and other social networking games and exchanges create in people create a false sense of security. Those who believe they are so interesting and important their entourage waits breathlessly to be included in every thought and action come to believe they are so adored and so cool nothing bad could ever happen to them and they are incapable of poor judgement. We'll see how long it is before the stories start coming out in the news about this fun feature being exploited.

wormy the penal tapeworm   May 7th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

Will you eat green eggs and ham? No i will not. Sam i am.

Sean Liu   May 8th, 2010 5:42 am ET


freedomlogo   May 8th, 2010 6:26 am ET

thats complicate thing. one hand i think can be usefull but in other hand i think is danger for kids

chiva2k   May 8th, 2010 11:59 am ET

these is to much facebook is going to far first they ad these location feature to know where you are all the time and then just like twitter they are going to store all these info in the Library of Congress the only one benefiting from these is bigbrother that wants to be a God where are the tea baggers we want our privacy and freedom Back!!

wayne brazeau   May 8th, 2010 5:27 pm ET

can they pump concrete into funnel to at least temporarily slow oil leak and later drill beside and resume oil extraction.just an idea.

Oliver   May 9th, 2010 8:57 pm ET

So facebook is not a C.I.A tool? NOT!

Oisin McGuigan   May 9th, 2010 9:28 pm ET

the more features like this that they enable the less I am inclined to use it. I am still reeling from the last feature they enabled that gives all your private info to websites by default. Shameful behavior really!

R   May 10th, 2010 9:18 am ET

I am sure the criminals will love this idea.

kailynnebl   May 10th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

cannot sources cycle decreases atlantic ago peter

jimotr   May 10th, 2010 3:25 pm ET

What are they thinking?

Samir   May 10th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

I deleted my Facebook account when they made the privacy changes...and will not return. I'm telling's like unplugging yourself from the Matrix.

Ryan   May 10th, 2010 5:26 pm ET

Paranoid much? lol

Social networking isn't for everyone. Neither are all the features available. I love keeping in touch with my family and friends and making new ones. But I hate the games and horoscopes and sending virtual gifts and such. so i just don't use that part. If you don't like the idea of a feature, don't use it. There, I think i just solved all your problems. Sometimes the simplest solutions are overlooked.

I for one will wait and see how it works before i support or bash it. I like using forsquare which you can choose to link to your facebook and twitter. so we will see if this is as good or better. surely it will work via check ins and not a constant gps location that you guys seem to be thinking. that's kinda dumb and i wouldn't use it if that were case.

Oh and Jim, I bet i could stand on any street and tell when people leave their homes. Don't need internet updates for that. I bet your at work right now!

Mike D   May 11th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

ha! what if I post while im a train.. come find me now!

jrq   May 11th, 2010 6:45 pm ET

I think I might leave FB. And stop commenting here.

Eric Pagelsdorf   May 12th, 2010 8:51 am ET

I believe my profile has been blocked from changing my profile image for no reason!

Eric Pagelsdorf account ID 553915096

My profile is completely private, and since I have been blocked, your procedure process has been failed.

I have never been sent a message that I am in violation for my photos.

Your warning system is completely failed with regards to notification to the user.

1) When I try to change my photo it just has an error message and tells me to TRY AGAIN
2) Every time I log on I am asked to SET my Profile Photo!? If you are blocking me don't you think this is a little bit ENTRAPMENT? since there is NO WARNING HERE
3) The only place that you can SEE this warning is when you click on your "Profile Photo" then "Change Profile Picture" then the message is displayed on the top

I would like to know exactly what part of the Code of Conduct I am in Violation of, when I was in violation of it, and why I was not notified I was in violation of this

Thank you!

Eric Pagelsdorf

Cathy Juneau   May 12th, 2010 9:59 am ET

I think that it is a bit's an invitation to all sorts of problems people are not's life is more important than advising the world where you are and what you are doing.

J Wils   May 12th, 2010 10:07 am ET

I think if those who need to know where you are...already do..why
advertise to the world...everyone's safety should be the number
one thought.....don't place your life in danger!

Katie   May 12th, 2010 11:47 am ET

Once Facebook gets this geotagging app, expect it to be like Foursquare on crack...I'm not going to use it unless it offers promo activity. has a good description of what we can expect.

Einstein08   May 12th, 2010 12:26 pm ET

Awesomeness! Now I can stalk in person rather than just be a FB stalker.

This will also make it much, much easier to break into homes knowing people are out of town on vacation.

Muuuahhhhhahhhhhaaaa, I can't wait to start a real life of crime instead of an imaginary one!!! Let the games begin beeyooutch's!

Goodluck G T Tomson   May 13th, 2010 9:02 am ET

One should be able to edit all in one's profile.

Goodluck G T Tomson   May 13th, 2010 9:04 am ET

One should be able to edit one's profile.

babita   May 13th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

That is just plain stupid on FB part. I recall recently there were some cases, that when
people were on vacation, they were showing off and telling on twitter.
When those happy campers came back home, all their stuff was gone. Their homes got cleaned out.
Technology might new, crime is old as the hills, and criminals will
always find a way.

Teymur   May 13th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

Why u guys care about facebook anyways?

Rhonda   May 13th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

I don't want anyone to know where I am ALL the time................. geez louise

JP   May 13th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Wow, it will be easier than ever to stalk people now... the people who will be using this feature are the same ones who not only have their last name displayed online, but their phone numbers shared through wall posts, pictures of their cars and homes in their photo albums, pictures of their favorite clubs/hangouts shared too, their address information posted probably, and their place of work displayed for everyone to see to boot. Spend 5 minutes on someone's Facebook page and you can probably locate them with some degree of accuracy without the help of a gps feature.

Sharing is good when it comes to toys... but not with every detail of your life. Don't be stupid- be safe.

Al   May 13th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

...because people always need to know where i am, what i'm doing, and what i'm thinking?

Jim   May 13th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

So far I have deleted my private information, which Facebook took upon themselves to share with the public by default. Facebook removed MY CHOICE. The decision of what I keep private and what I share publicly should be mine. And I should not be penalized by having to delete certain info because I chose to not make it public. Who needs this kind of manipulation? This less personable account makes me want to go back to MySpace. In fact, I think I will.

Jim A   May 13th, 2010 1:54 pm ET

I agree with Jim H (the first comment) wholeheartedly!

Hannah G.   May 13th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

I think this is stupid; if there were robbers wanting to know when you are home or not, they can use this to stalk your profile on Facebook, and see that you aren't home, that maybe you are at the supermarket. Then, they can rob your home. It is enough to have people see where you are when you physically post it, but when it is automatic, it is a dumb and a real risk to do. Why must Facebook keep changing things about itself, it is fine the way it was when I first got mine, stop changing 50 million times in one year.

Old school   May 13th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Ok so lets hang out our shingle that we are RIGHT send all the bad people straight to us ....H0W STUPID IS THIS IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake up people...not only is this dangerous, but WHO CARES where you are unless you are an evil person with bad intentions.
This is such a bad idea all the way around!

KYR   May 13th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

You will be suprised how many slow young people will actually use it. It is scary to know that society think it is okay for facebook to allow GPS as a tool. SCARY!!! That is why I terminated my account.

azgard2274   May 13th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

There have been a few very select times when I do like to share location features. For instance:

During a trip to Puerto Rico I included a few camera phone picture and imported them using an app that allowed people to see where on the island a particular picture was taken on GoogleMaps. Most of my friends found it interesting. Another occassion was during a bike ride, where the phone was set to record the route we took and later that was imported in to FB.

But I don't care for everyone to know where I am and I'm sure most of my friends don't care either. 😉

If FB follows what they've done in the past, it'll be a simple check box that needs to be unmarked for the location feature to be turned off. Nothing to go too crazy about. Yet...

Pure Insantiy   May 13th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

This is just we need to know where everyone is and get MORE ads to our phones/computers. Give me a break facebook...its becoming a little to big brotherish...count me out.

Vinny G   May 13th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

I'll be not using Facebook in the near future 😛 I signed up in its early betas but it seems it's morphed more into a corporate tool to shovel more needless advertising, than a social network. Seems like the social aspect, is just an added feature. Screw that. We definitely don't need more ways to advertise crap products like McDonalds.

Money Mike   May 13th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

can integrate with FB

arprtr   May 13th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

I do not think that I want to add to the content on this site:

sammi   May 13th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

ok well first of all i dnt see what the big deal is pple already post where they are 24/7 on their status updates. geeezz you dnt need some gps thing to tell you where pple are just read their page!!! seriously!

Ervis   May 13th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

Facebook owes peoples private info.

What else is coming next?

trelos84   May 13th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Facebook will eventually add the location feature, probably enabling your Facebook stalkers to find you and stalk you more. Great idea morans (intentional).

Don   May 13th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

I think most people are missing the point. Using FourSquare as an example, this is not just a way to tell people you are at the grocery story. It is a way to share what venues you go to, offer recomendations or comments about them, and to get suggestions from your friends about places to go based upon where you are at. It is actually a handy service, and if Facebook can integrate it and make it better, I'm all for it.

The other thing is, like any feature, if it has no value to you, don't use it. But bashing new services that you don't think you would use is not productive or appreciated by the rest of us who are geeky enough to enjoy them.

RTD   May 13th, 2010 2:18 pm ET

...I DID - go into withdrawn for about 3-4 days....thereafter, I felt great and am glad that I have deleted my Facebook profile. The private info that leaks when there's a, all their "upgrades" - including this "location" feature....I don't read the future - but I can see pretty well where all this heading to. Your social life is slowly being controlled by them. You'll see. Think about it.....

JJ   May 13th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

HEY this ones goes out to the creepy stalkers Yaaaayy!!! not. word of advise parents really need to monitor what info their kids give out on facebook there are alot of creepers out there!!

Betty   May 13th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

Facebook is pimping YOU.

Gutierrez   May 13th, 2010 9:14 pm ET

Why would anyone want a stranger to know where you are all the time?....

darkshadow6921   May 16th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

the geo location is only pre planning for world collapse. when everyone is living the life of a wandering nomad, this tool will be priceless.

well if you can afford to have a full set of batteries in your laptop. lol.

hurry, the world is ending in... wait I got the calendars around here somewhere.... :p

barbara balaban   May 17th, 2010 7:34 pm ET

they say that mark wil put the facebook shift . but they say that in all sites that they will shift today , that has been going on for weeks , as a long time member and user since they started i was the first member to use facebook with my family so what is the problem are they going to really start with the new profile or is it just saying

Gmar   May 19th, 2010 2:57 am ET

Facebook sucks! I tried to delete my account to make it a business account and they will not release my email address, so I can't re-sign up as a business. I signed up months ago and now there is a Business sign up on the front page. Murphy's law!

shukura   May 19th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

Now the stalkers and other random 'bad people' will know exactly where you are...they need to watch this weeks Criminal Minds!!

Helga Klein   May 22nd, 2010 2:55 pm ET

If I want to be traced I switch on GPS function, if necessary. I don't see a necessity to be traced on the spot by facebook given the fac that GPS serves in the same way.

Helga Klein   May 22nd, 2010 2:57 pm ET

GPS serves in the same way if necessary. No need. Rgds.

MrsJ2U   May 22nd, 2010 3:45 pm ET

NO THANK YOU, Facebook is just finding away around more privacy issues that have just recently raised. This has to do with advertising.

They are constantly pushing the envelope and your information and those nasty adds that pop up on the right, I never click on them ever.

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