Facebook's proposed location policies hint that friends can tag you at places

Facebook proposed a few changes to its privacy policy today — notably, it’s taking a much broader approach to including location options.

The company hasn’t launched geotagging or “checking in” yet. But in the most recent version of its privacy policy released last year, the company said it would allow people to add “a location to something you post.” They’ve made that a lot vaguer now. Instead, you can tag posts with a “place” like a Fan Page.

Making geotagging compatible with Fan Pages could make Facebook’s local pages a lot richer and maybe even competitive with Google’s Place Pages or Yelp’s listings. If you could tag an update or post with a venue, you could probably attach comments, mini-reviews and photos to the Fan Page.

More specifically, if you read the policy itself, it sounds like other people will be able to tag places with your name. It’s a subtle but important distinction between the way other location-sharing apps work. With Gowalla, MyTown or Foursquare, you decide to share your own location, not those of friends.

Here’s an excerpt from Facebook’s privacy policy:

If another user tags you in a photo or video or at a place, you can remove the tag. You can also limit who can see that you have been tagged on your profile from your privacy settings.

From what we’ve heard about Facebook’s location strategy, the company perceives itself to be a platform to host a whole range of location-related experiences. While you may be able to “check in” or share your location on Facebook, the way they’ll implement location may not be exclusive of other services like Foursquare. That said, some of the biggest location-based apps like Gowalla, Loopt and Foursquare will have to find ways to differentiate themselves and offer something above and beyond the simple act of “checking in” to survive.


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