• Foursquare Updating Privacy Policy - Full Names To Be Used & More Data Now Shared

    Foursquare is no stranger to BlackBerry when it comes to support for the platform. From releasing new features first to BlackBerry, to preparing for BlackBerry 10 far in advance, Foursquare has been a top app for BlackBerry users.

    To ensure that Foursquare can provide better service to the user, they are updating their privacy policy next month. Starting Jan 28th, Foursquare will allow the use of full names, and the ability for businesses to access data logs for individuals.

    But before you get your panties in a bunch and start flaming Foursquare for intruding on your privacy, hear this out.

    Full names have already been available through when you search for a friend on Foursquare. What changes is that full names will now show up on check-ins. However, this doesn't mean you have to use your real name. The change comes about from user feedback that clicking through another user's profile page becomes confusing when you don't see their last name. Just remember, if you don't want your full name on the network, you can update your settings to whatever "full name" you want.

    Now, more data for businesses. Businesses were previously only allowed to view the last three hours of check-ins. This was unpractical as many users would check-in toward the latter part of the day. Now, businesses will be able to access more time relevant data as to when users are checking in. But remember, permissions can also be turned off by users that don't want businesses to see their check-in data.

    So, in conclusion, I wouldn't take this privacy policy change as anything to fret about. If anything, it is a step in the right direction for Foursquare to become a more user friendly app. Now if they could just fine tune the check-in method enough so I don't have to manually work so hard at it.

    See full press release below:

    Hello Foursquare community!

    2012 has been a pretty huge year. We’ve released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It’s a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.
    As our product evolves, one of the things we do is update our policies to match it. And a big aspect of that is privacy (something we think about a lot). This email lays out a couple changes that we’ll be making to our privacy policy in the coming month, and explains how they affect you and what you can do about it.

    We know that privacy policies can be dense, so we put together a high-level document that we think of as our “Privacy 101.” It describes, in an easy-to-read way, how we build privacy into our product. While it doesn't replace the legal need for the complete description of our privacy practices (which you can read here), we hope it helps you better understand how we think about privacy. We’ve also added new explanations of how privacy works throughout the app in our FAQs, including our default privacy settings and how they can be adjusted.
    In addition to creating and refining those documents, we want to point out two specific changes to our policy, both of which will go into effect on January 28, 2013.

    1. We will now display your full name. Currently, Foursquare sometimes shows your full name and sometimes shows your first name and last initial (“John Smith” vs. “John S.”). For instance, if you search for a friend in Foursquare, we show their full name in the results, but when you click through to their profile page you don’t see their last name. In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense. But we get emails every day saying that it's now confusing. So, with this change, full names are going to be public. As always, you can alter your ‘full name’ on Foursquare athttps://foursquare.com/settings.

    2. A business on Foursquare will be able to see more of their recent customers. Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we're going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you'd prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at https://foursquare.com/settings/privacy.

    The Foursquare of today is so different than the first version that launched in 2009, and we appreciate that you let us continue to evolve and build our vision. This occasionally means altering our privacy policy. When we do, we make it a priority to come up with clear ways to help you understand your privacy choices, and to communicate them clearly. If you have any questions or want more details, head over to our updated privacy policy or support.foursquare.com.

    Have a lovely holiday, and thanks for being part of the nearly 30,000,000-strong Foursquare community. We have a lot planned for 2013!
    - Team Foursquare

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