Among the most popular social networks, perhaps the most difficult to be “dominated” is Foursquare, and I do not say this because it is the most difficult to use (in fact it is one of the simplest in appearance), but because it is the social network that users generally have less control (or awareness) about their privacy.
The primary objective of this network is to tell everyone where you are and/or what are you doing in this place. Users share their exact location with the support of natural or assisted GPS of their mobile devices, as well as photos and brief comments from the place where they are.
The main risks arising from a bad or improper use of this tool are: (a) receive unexpected and unwanted visitors where do “check-in” and (b) that unknown or malicious people know where you live, study or work, or know the places where you more frequent.
Some tips to keep our privacy on Foursquare are:
- Do not post “check-ins”, best “check-outs”. That is, do not post your location when you’re coming to the place, but when you’re coming out of it. So if you have a stalker, will come when you’re not there.
- Not accept for “friends” to strangers. It is common to receive dozens of invitations from strangers, don’t fall into the temptation and accepts only those of the people who you know (beware of fake profiles!).
- Do not post contact information on your profile (phone and email).
- Beware of social networking associated with your account (such as Twitter and Facebook), because even if you have precautions in Foursquare, when you publish your location simultaneously on other social networks, you increase the risk that many more people know where and with whom you are.
- Do not add the address of your home (or allow others to do so) as a place visited on foursquare; no matter what you do it with a disguised name as “The Happiest Place on Earth”, since it will be quite obvious to anyone who comes to your home.
- If you are interested in collecting points or aspire to gifts or promotions in restaurants or stores, do check-ins private ( “off-the-grid”). When you do check-in the mobile application have options to “tell your friends” and “post on Facebook and Twitter”. Give it selects all these options to obtain as much privacy as possible.
- Delete and/or avoid the “Mayors”. The “mayors” are “public office”, anyone can see them, and therefore can realize what places you are more frequent. The phenomenon of “Big Data” allows you to store, process and identify a lot of information, in some cases with such precision that even some applications could “predict” where you going to go or which places you’ll visit on a certain day.
- Avoid include you in the public list of people who have made check-in at present in a place (“Here Now”). One of features of Foursquare is that it allows you to connect with other users in your area. It is possible to show where other Foursquare users have made check-in recently (both friends and non-friends) nearby.
- Know the Foursquare policies of “Privacy Information” so you know what kind of information can see “all”, “friends” and “places or brands”. You can see also here this information.
- Familiarize yourself with the privacy controls of your profile on Foursquare so you know what you can control in an “automatic” way in this social network.
Probably many of these tips “distort” (little or much) the purpose, features, and benefits of Foursquare, but your privacy is the most valuable thing in this digitized world. It’s worth taking the necessary steps to mitigate any unwanted encounter, or even committing a crime (injury, robbery, kidnapping, etc.)