Foursquare will display full names, share more data with businesses

Acautious Foursquare is making changes to its Privacy Policy and has begun notifying its users that more of their information and data will be made public starting next month. Foursquare detalied the changes it proposes to make to the app and the Privacy Policy on its blog.

Starting January 28, 2013, Foursquare will display entire names on their site as opposed to only the first name and the initial of the last name, which is how it shows names right now. Foursquare decided to make this change after receiving several complaints from users who found this feature confusing. The post notes that users are not required to use their real names and can change their names using privacy settings.

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Foursquare is changing!

In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense,” Foursquare explained in an e-mail it sent out to its users. “But we get e-mails every day saying that it’s now confusing.”

Foursquare is also making changes to its Privacy Policy to make it easier for business owners to view more data about check-ins made at their venues. “A business owner (say, a restaurant manager) can see their top customers on Foursquare, just as they could identify the people who walk through their door most often,” the blog post said.

Foursquare has made it possible for users to opt out of business owners being able to see their full names. Users can also opt out of the ‘Here Now’ feature, through which friends can see if you are checked in to a particular venue.

Foursquare seems to have taken lessons in communicating serious changes in its Privacy Policy and Terms of Services after Instagram’s attempt at changing its Terms turned into a Public Relations disaster. The real-time location sharing service sent out not just an email to its users talking about the changes and the reasons behind them, but also put out a blog post using language that makes it easy for a layman to understand the changes that are going to be made next month.

Earlier this month, Instagram explained the changes it was about to make to the service for the first time since Facebook bought it over for $1 billion. Thanks to the ‘confusing language’ used in the post, users were led to believe that Instagram would now own their images and could sell them or use them in advertisements.

The uproar that these proposed changes caused allegedly cost Instagram one quarter of its users, and got complaints from high profile users such as wildlife and nature magazine National Geographic.

Even though co-founder Kevin Systrom hastily issued an apology and rolled back Instagram’s Terms of Services to the ones in effect since 2010, it was hardly a consolation for enraged users. Although Foursquare’s proposed changes could raise a few privacy concerns, the ease and delicacy with which the service has introduced them could just make users embrace them.


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