Last night, Facebook unveiled a new feature that allows you to share your immediate location with friends on Facebook. It's called "Places" and it works like this: If you're hanging out at your local barber shop/laundromat/arcade you can "check-in" to these locations on your mobile phone. Immediately, your Facebook friends will be notified in their newsfeed. Unfortunately, there's a problem. Your Facebook buddies can also check you into various places—even if you're not actually there. It's a lot like tagging people to photos (they don't have to appear in the photo to tag them).
So what's the worst that could happen? Here's are four nightmare scenarios imagined by tech bloggers:
- "Rampaging Ex-Girlfriends or arch nemeses will exploit this tool to slander your good name, tying you to trysts that never happened or houses of ill repute." [TechCrunch's Evelyn Rusli]
- "You are at the bar when you are supposed to be at your girlfriend's crappy art show. You chat with your friend Jane, who checks into the bar and tags you: 'At this awesome bar, just talked to [Your name here] about his Star Wars memorabilia collection!' Your girlfriend sees this on Jane's wall, walks over to the bar and dumps you on the spot." [Gawker's Adrian Chen]
- "This is clearly a disaster, as your girlfriend’s going to find out on her own FB home page that you’re actually at a party with a bunch of chicks instead of studying in the library like you told her so you could free yourself up for the evening." [social media blogger Bill Cammack]