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Foursquare Privacy Policy Changes

December 30, 2012

By Gilbert Falso :: 10:44 PM

Foursquare Privacy PolicyFoursquare announced today that it will be making changes to its terms of service and privacy policy. The amended terms will take hold on January 28, 2013.

The location-based social networking service sent an e-mail to users earlier today – it carried the subject line “We’ve released a ton of new features in 2012 and have a lot more planned for 2013. Here are the updates to our privacy policy.” It seems as if the privacy policy updates part of that message was meant to be lost in your e-mail reader.

The e-mail announced a high-level document that the company considers a “Privacy 101” text. It describes how Foursquare privacy works, and while not designed to replace the legal text and complete description of the privacy practices, the company hopes it better explains privacy issues in layman’s terms.

At the top of the privacy changes list is this major announcement -Foursquare will now display your full name to everyone on the network, regardless of whether you are friends with them on the service or not.

Currently, Foursquare will sometimes show your full name and sometimes show only your first name and last initial. On January 28th, full names will be be public. If you do not want your full name publicized, you can change it by logging on to Foursquare and going to the settings page at:

In addition to making full names public information, Foursquare is also increasing the amount of data and names that it provides to businesses who have established locations on the service. Businesses will now be able to see more of their recent customers who have checked in.

Currently, a business using Foursquare can only access the names of customers who have checked in in the last three hours With this change, Foursquare will display more check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. If you want to keep businesses from seeing when you check into their locations, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at:

Although Fourquare seems to be very up-front and proactive about these terms of service and privacy policy changes, it picked an interesting time to announce them. Perhaps in the shadow of the Instagram terms of service debacle earlier this month, a quiet Sunday afternoon preceding the last work day of the year and then a holiday will give Foursquare a chance to avoid the brunt of some Internet outrage over its changes.