How Not to Creep Out Your Friends Using Facebook Places

Facebook Places

Maybe you’re one of the people who are completely comfortable with Facebook Places, Facebook’s new location-broadcasting feature. Maybe you can’t wait to start tagging all your friends wherever you hang out. Stop! Think! Don’t be a creep!

We’ve already made our views clear on the feature in Facebook Places which allows you to tag your friends in a GPS-pinpointed check-in, much as you would in a picture or a status update. But many people will probably be OK with this, and that’s OK with us. Just don’t be a creep about it.

Kunur Patel, a writer for Advertising Age, learned the hard way how not to check other people in. She was eating dinner with friends and decided to check herself, and her three companions, into the restaurant. Here’s what happened when she told them after the fact:

Shock ensued.

Keep in mind this was a foursome of 20-somethings, a bunch of typical iPhone-toting over-sharers who have all been guilty of an incriminating photo or tweet. Among us were at least a couple of Foursquare mayorships and one notorious Facebook photo tagger…

So they were all OK with being checked in at a Mediterranean joint in Queens, right? Well, wrong. To my surprise, the group was appalled that I could tag their locations without them knowing.


Alert: social media étiquette faux pas. Of course, these awkward situations ought to subside once people familiarise themselves with Facebook Places, and checking in becomes more common. Patel’s friends probably had never been tagged before in a Places update (otherwise they would have known that they’d received an email notifying them of her checking them in.)

But there’ve got to be some rules about this! We will consult our copy of Emily Post 2.0:

Tagging Dining Companions on Facebook Places at Dinner

Check oneself in is an act of sharing your location with the world. Just as with sharing physical objects, we must be careful not to share with others that which is not ours to share. Your dining companions’ location belongs to them. If you woud like to share this to the world, simply ask (either before the meal is served, or between courses) if he or she would not mind before you do. In this way, you may avoid being a fucking creepozoid.

Also, Facebook shouldn’t let people tag friends in check ins without their explicit permission—even once. But that’s a whole other blog post.

See Also: PRIVACY WARNING: Facebook Places Lets Your Friends Broadcast Where You Are, Even If You’re Not There

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