Location-based social network Foursquare has quietly added the incredibly welcome ability to hide home addresses to its privacy features.
One of the biggest problems I’ve always had when scanning my friends’ Foursqaure check-ins has been seeing people checking in at their homes. While theoretically you’re sharing with just friends, surely there are at least a few people you’d prefer not to show off their exact address. Furthermore, many people who are the “mayor” of their home have that info listed on their public profiles under “mayorships,” meaning anyone who knows your name could find your address.
Thankfully this new update, which was first noticed by the About Foursquare blog, will help alleviate most of these concerns. Users can now obscure their address by categorizing it as a “Home” in the system. The picture above, for example, shows my friend Andrew’s home as just the general area in the part of Brooklyn where he lives.
Of course, you have to take initiative to protect your privacy. Venues that aren’t categorized as a Home will still show exact addresses. If your home address is listed on Foursquare without your consent, you can use the Report a Problem link to let Foursquare staff know it needs to be categorized as a Home.
Social networks that include location elements have always struggled with privacy. Location tagging on Twitter, for example, can be dicey because if you forget to turn it off and you tweet at home, the world will see where you live. But since social networking and location-based networks are still relatively young, we should see more privacy features like this one from Foursquare to help bring peace of mind to more users.
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