The site that pioneered location-based social networking is sending a strong message to users: cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.
The site quietly added a new feature this week that allows business owners to revoke the mayorship of users they believe cheated to achieve the title.
The coveted “Mayor” title is bestowed on the Foursquare user who “checks in” to a location the most times in a two month period.
Foursquare added the feature after learning that most small business owners don’t sign their businesses up for the site because they don’t want cheaters checking-in when they aren’t really there, a practice that had become common on the site.
Now business owners can just click one of two buttons to oust a Mayor, choosing either “other reason,” which could include cheating, or identifying the mayor as an employee, and therefore ineligible.
Cheating has long been a concern on the site but became a business issue as businesses, looking to the site as a marketing tool, increasingly began to give real-world discounts and recognition along with the Mayor title.
A Foursquare spokesperson told TechCrunch, “Yesterday we gave verified business owners the ability to oust a Mayor if they have reason to believe the Mayorship was not gained through legitimate check-ins. If a Mayor is flagged by a business owner, they’ll be removed from office immediately and the next user in line will take over as Mayor. We’re still in the very early stages of experimenting with this feature and will most likely be tweaking it based on feedback from business owners.”
The announcement builds on the “cheater code” Foursquare began implementing earlier this year that considers a user’s location when he or she checks in to a venue.