Foursquare will publicly display users’ full names (but don’t be alarmed)

In light of the recent Instagram snafu, people are more than a bit concerned whenever a social network changes its privacy policies.

Foursquare knows this, which is why it laid out its own policy changes in a recent email to its users. Here are what the two major changes look like:

1. Foursquare will now publicly display users’ full names. Known on Foursquare as Peter P? Foursquare will soon display your name as Peter Parker (assuming you’ve given it that information). Some users may not be crazy about this change, but Foursquare isn’t requiring that users actually give their full names in the first place. Basically, if you provide Foursquare with you full name, it’s going to use it. The solution is pretty simple: Don’t give Foursquare your full name.

2. Foursquare is giving more check-in information to businesses, which, strangely, have so far only been able to see information on the previous three hours of users. Foursquare, understandably, is changing that by permitting them to see ” a lot more” of those check-ins. How much more? Foursquare isn’t saying, but chances are it’s something on the order of days, not hours.

While the changes aren’t particularly earthshaking, they come as Foursquare is becoming a much larger, more ambitious company — which means they come with some pretty high stakes. “The Foursquare of today is so different from the first version that launched in 2009, and we appreciate that you let us continue to evolve and build our vision,” it said in its email.

So far, there hasn’t been much backlash to the changes, which is a bit of a surprise. Privacy is a key concern with location-based services, which means that Foursquare has to be extra careful with any policy changes that it makes. So far it’s handled things pretty well, and Instagram should take note.


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