Sharing Location With Strangers Via Facebook Places

Twice in a weeks time [1, 2] I’ve suggested that teens in particular have more “friends” than friends. AOL apparently did some of the research for me regarding the prevalence:

…more than half of the children surveyed (54%) don’t personally know all of the friends…

54% of teens surveyed don’t know all their “friends”. Facebook defaults the privacy settings on places to “friends”. 54% of children surveyed will likely be sharing their current location with people they don’t personally know. Places will catch on, especially once the check-in games start coming up and it becomes more fun and competitive. Half will likely share their location with people they don’t know.

Think about this for a second. Just a few years ago society would have found the idea of teenagers revealing their current location to people they don’t even personally know to be insanity.

It’s easy to fix, just setup a group and include/exclude as desired. The problem is awareness of the problem is low. Also problematic is the desire and patience to sort through several hundred “friends” and bucket people.

It would also be easy for Facebook to fix by forcing users to either select specific groups or individuals rather than just defaulting to the overly broad “friends”. They have the UI, and it’s actually pretty good (I’ve got some gripes, but they don’t apply to 99.9% of the population) they just don’t make users go through it for the sake of simplicity.

I don’t really like this.

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