Facebook kills Places, but emphasizes location sharing more

Facebook kills Places, but emphasizes location sharing more

Summary: Facebook has decided to kill Facebook Places. The company is simultaneously adding new location features to its service.


Facebook announced Facebook Places back in August 2010, allowing you to check in using a smartphone and let your Facebook friends where you are. Today, buried in its major privacy revamp announcement, the company noted that it is killing Facebook Places. At the same time, Facebook is adding a lot more location features.

What does this mean exactly? Although Facebook says it is phasing out the mobile-only Facebook Places, it is now letting you add your current location to anything (status update, photo, or Wall post), from anywhere (regardless of what device you are using).

You no longer need a smartphone to share your location (those clunky computers can be used as well!). Furthermore, adding your location to your Facebook content is not limited to the present; the company wants you to share your location as part of your past and future as well. Here's how Facebook breaks this down:

  • Where you've been. Remember where you were in your favorite photos.
  • Where you are now. If friends are nearby, they might just meet you there.
  • Where you're going. Friends who have been there can give you tips or even join in the plan.

The new location button in the sharing tool is a tricky one because Facebook is trying to get you to use it as much as possible while still abiding by privacy rules. As a result, it's off by default, so you have to make a point to turn it on. If you do turn it on, it will keep adding your general location (like the city you live in) to all of your posts. As a result, you'll have to remember to click the x to remove your location before you share every new post. Otherwise, you'll have to turn the feature off.

Of course, if you want to share a more specific location, you can add actual places (restaurant, park, airport, and so on) to your posts. On the other hand, remember that you can choose who sees each post you share, including the ones with your location.

Wait a minute, but what does this mean for Check-in Deals? Don't worry; they aren't going away anytime soon.

"Once someone tags where they are on Facebook, they will be directed to the News Feed," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "If the Place is offering a Check-in Deal, the title of the deal will appear below the News Feed story. You'll then be able to click on the deal title and will then be taken to the claim flow."

In short, while Facebook Places is going the way of the dodo, Facebook is clearly trying to get users more and more accustomed to sharing their location on the social network. This can be very helpful in many situations when you want to know where your friends are, but of course privacy advocates are going to scrutinize it very closely.

As with the rest of the privacy update, these location changes will start to roll out this Thursday. Keep your eyes peeled as it's going to be a gradual roll out, like every Facebook update.

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • Is this again to cancel users' privacy settings, this time about location

    service, to some "default" outrageous ones?<br><br>Will they keep doing these 'throw away and reinstall' trick like each month or something?<br><br>Or maybe this time it is finally honest approach, with user location privacy settings not only kept intact, but also actually still working after this new location service is presented?
  • Dissertation Research Project on Facebook Places

    Hi Emil,
    Great piece. I'm a doctoral student doing my dissertation on location-sharing apps and my test platform is Places. The decision to phase out Places presents a bit of a challenge for my dissertation in the short run; it also offers several new research opportunities, e.g., a study that compares how people feel about the new interface compared with the old one, etc. I'd appreciate your help in getting a snowball data collection going... I?ll be able to finish my dissertation before this goes the way of the dodo.

    It would be great if your FB enthusiasts (and those who feel differently) take a short 15-minute survey to share their thoughts. I collect survey data and tie to actual use data. Click this link to begin: http://edu.surveygizmo.com/s3/621318/ec5a07bdf9a7
    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know. Thanks much.

    Paul Russo
  • Not buying the places killing thing

    If you parse Facebook's words (at least what has been reported in the media and blogs), they didn't say they were removing places. It makes sense they'd keep the places database they've built and that location-tagging would work better on top of that. Businesses have claimed places... I don't see why FB would get rid of this and haven't read anywhere that they've unequivocally said that. I imagine it's going to be a tagging option where you can choose places from a database drop down or type in something else of your own.