The Facebook Places Privacy Settings You Need To Know

-Facebook Places Logo-When Facebook launched their Places product yesterday they also released a new set of privacy settings. One feature that has attracted a fair amount of buzz is the ability for your friends to tag you in different places. That means you may not actually be somewhere, yet your friends will tag you as a joke and now you’re showing up at a random strip club. Granted, your friend will need to check in at the strip club as well to make that joke a reality, however I know we all have at least one of those friends! Read on to learn how to configure your settings properly.

Why You Want To Change Your Settings

While you may be fine with Facebook’s existing Places privacy settings, I know there are plenty of friends on Facebook who I don’t want to track my location. As such, I’ll probably end up creating a “Close Friends” friends list to limit access to my location information. Prior to explaining each of the settings, let me first share a few examples of Places tagging and the “People Here Now” feature gone wrong:

  • Your college roommate loves playing practical jokes on his or her friends. One night after having a few drinks at the bar they are walking down the street and pass by “Boobie Bungalow”, your favorite local strip club. They check in thinking it will be funny and decide to tag you since you chose to stay home and cram for the exam. Unfortunately your girlfriend (or boyfriend) saw that you were tagged the next morning and flips out. Rather than calling you up to discuss they storm over to let you know that you can kiss the relationship goodbye.
  • Miley Cyrus is in town and you can’t wait to attend her event. While spending a lovely evening at the concert with all your friends you decide to check in and let the world know that you’re there (also making a shameless attempt to make your friends jealous). Rather than just letting your friends know about it everybody else that’s at the event can see that you’re there. Suddenly your stalker appears out of nowhere to ask you how life is going, even though you are trying to listen to Miley belt out her latest Disney tune. Not only that, the stalker tries to make a move on you … gross!!!

Alright, maybe these examples aren’t exactly the standard examples of Facebook Places gone wrong, however you should definitely avoid mishaps from checking in to places. Since you want to protect yourself on Facebook, here’s how you can do so.

How To Change Your Places Privacy Settings

Now that you’re convinced that Facebook Places could potentially ruin your life, have no fear! We’ve gone through all the Facebook Places privacy settings so you can prevent a potential disaster from happening.

Step 1
The first step you should take is to revisit the custom privacy settings. You can do this by going to this page and clicking on “Customize settings” (as pictured below). As you’ll notice in the picture, Facebook has limited your checkins to only your friends, however this is a little bit misleading as we’ll learn in the coming steps.

Customize Places Privacy Settings

Step 2
Once you are on the custom privacy settings page, the first are you need to visit is where it says “Places I Check in” (as pictured below). By default, Facebook has selected “Friends Only”. To be honest, this is already a relatively protected setting, however if you happen to have Facebook friends who you aren’t close with, you’ll probably want to customize this. After clicking on the drop-down menu, click on “Customize”.

Places Check In Privacy Screenshot

Once you click on “Customize”, the following dialog will pop-up. In that box, you’ll want to select “Specific” people and then enter the name of friend lists (friend lists explanation found here) and specific people that you’d like to grant access to your location.

Custom Privacy Settings

Step 3
Once you’ve selected the proper settings for people that you’d like to share your location with, you’ll want to also configure the “People Here Now” setting (as pictured below). One strange thing about Facebook Places is that despite controlling who can view your location information from within your profile with the previous setting, anybody who visits a location will potentially be able to view that you’ve been there before.

That means other people who are not your friends will be able to see that you have checked in there until you check in somewhere else. For some people, this isn’t the end of the world (I’m personally not too concerned about it). However there are plenty of people who don’t want to share that information. As such, you’ll want to uncheck the box next to “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” as pictured below.

People Here Now Setting

Step 4
The last privacy setting that you should be aware of is the ability for your friends to check you in (as described in our strip club example above). By scrolling down the page, you should find the setting “Friends can check me in to Places” as pictured in the image below. If you don’t want your friends checking you in to strip clubs and other places, simply select the “Disabled” option next to this setting.

Friends Check In Screenshot

You Are Safe!

Now that you’ve walked through these quick Places privacy settings, you are now ready to begin checking in around the world!