Fucks sake, stop whinging about Facebook Places
I can’t believe the amount of whinging that is going on about Facebook Places, the new feature that Facebook activated two days ago to US-only residents (for now).
Places allows Facebook users to choose to post their current whereabouts to Facebook via your mobile, and can also allow people you are with to tag you in their Places updates. If any of your other friends have been nearby recently, it will let you know about that too. That’s it. Nothing else. Literally millions of people already do this every day on Facebook by posting where they are as status updates and tagging friends they are with. It isn’t some terrifying new breach of privacy.
It doesn’t track you like some sort of sci-fi homing beacon for your iPhone. Your boss/wife/parents/mistress/creditors can’t request Facebook track your location. It only posts when you tell it to or, optionally, if a friend tags you (and you set your permissions to allow friends to tag you, same as with photos). If you change your mind you can delete your update or untag yourself in friends’ places updates.
That is all Places is, yet it has definite uses such as making chance encounters such as other friends who at at the same gig or in the same pub or club as you, leaving friends tips for certain places, or quickly updating your status without having to type out where you are. People go out of the way to use apps such as Foursquare to do this now anyway.
Despite this, you would not believe the amount of noise people are making about this, being the end of privacy and crossing the line and this and that and a lot of noise. This is coming from someone who does care about his privacy enough to have customised privacy settings for several different lists of people and different passwords for every site he visits. The Guardian alone has posted FOUR articles on it in the last 2 days, all of them making out that Places is some sort of threat (rather than an easier way to do something many people already do), the last one in particular being outrageously sensationalist. Like, fox-news-daily-mail sensationalist.
It’s pissing me off. People that don’t use Facebook anyway, or use it begrudgingly whining about how facebook haven’t learnt any privacy lessons (they have) or repeating things they’ve read about how terrible it is that everyone’s opted in by default (they aren’t), or how it’s beyond them that anyone would ever want to use this. Firstly, get some imagination. Secondly, if you don’t want to use it then don’t, but don’t make out that this will cast you as some sort of privacy-savvy anti-consumerist cool-kid because it doesn’t - it makes you look like you haven’t bothered to read anything about it. If you don’t want to use it, fine, I don’t want to hear about you not using it.
Rant over. Feed me some new news.