This semester, through my social media class, I began using the platform foursquare.
To be honest….it kind of creeps me out. I don’t care if I can get five dollars off a meal, I don’t want some creeper knowing where I am every second of the day. What I really don’t understand is why some people check-in to their houses or apartments! The only people that should know where I live are the ones I tell personally. Not through social media. However, this platform is pretty big. Does no one else feel the least bit eerie about it? How safe is it really?
According to an article on Gizmodo.com, a white-hate hacker by the name of Jesper Anderson, was able to collect data from over 870,000 foursquare check-ins. That even includes the ones that were set to be visible only to friends. Before I go on, a white-hat hacker is someone who is hired to try to hack in to different websites. If they can hack in, they supply recommendations to the company on how to protect themselves against hackers who are not nearly so nice. Back to the point…
While nothing serious happened in this case, it does show how it is pretty easy it could be for someone to hack into your account.
In an attempt to be fair and see both sides, I also looked at what foursquare says about keeping your account private. For the consumer to better and more easily understand how to keep him or herself safe foursquare created a privacy grid, which breaks down the different privacy options. These can be changed within your account settings. This grid has information on how to protect your linked accounts, photos, check-ins, contact information and badges acquired.
My favorite part of foursquare’s privacy settings, and the one that makes me feel a lot less creeped out, is the ability to check-in “off the grid.” What this essentially means is that when you check-in at a location, no one else can see it. Not even your foursquare friends, however, you can still receive a badge.
Even though I may not check-in everywhere I go, I do use foursquare for the tips that other users leave. It is nice to be able to find someplace new to go, whether it’s in Milwaukee or on a trip, and be able to see the user reviews.
What do you think? Am I just being overly cautious here or could foursquare have the potential to go really wrong?