Facebook’s Location Feature “Places,” and How to Check Out of It

Another day, another uproar over a manuever by Facebook that allows users to “share where they are in a really nice and social way,” in the words of CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

The concern centers on Facebook’s long-awaited location-based feature “Places,” which was introduced last night and immmediately prompted concerns — not for the first time — that “nice” and “social” are code words for “Facebook is going to play fast and loose with your privacy again as we cultivate more local advertising and business partners. Mmmmwwahahahahaha.”

As the ACLU pointed out in a statement last night, “Places allows your friends to tag you when they check in somewhere” and “when it comes to opting out of that feature, you are only given a ‘not now’ option. ‘No’ isn’t one of the easy options.”

Indeed, you can remove a location tag — just as you can remove a photo tag — but if you’re concerned about your privacy, you’ll need to stay on top of Facebook. 

Though you’ll receive a notice every time your location has been tagged so that you can remove it if you choose, unless you’re obsessively checking your phone, your location will show up on your Wall for some period of time. More, according to Wired, “your friends will see your face appear on the Facebook page of that bar, restaurant or strip club under a list of ‘People here now.'”

The good news: Wired has already assembled a checklist of ways for users to disable the feature so that if you don’t to share your location, ever, you won’t have to. At least, not until Facebook updates its privacy settings again. (For a pretty shocking overview of the company’s evolving approach toward privacy, check out this timeline assembled some months ago by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.)

To walk through the “Places” disabling process, click here.