Facebook & FourSquare.

I’ve been using foursquare for ages: most of you unless we’re friends on foursquare or facebook won’t have noticed as I don’t publish it here or via Twitter – not because I’m fussy about sharing my data – just that I don’t really mind cluttering my facebook wall with checkins, but I think that they’d probably irritate my twitter followers.

I’ve noticed an odd thing though about the connection between FourSquare and Facebook: you see I’ve given FourSquare permission to post updates to my facebook wall. That’s it, at least – as far as I was aware – just to post, but today logging onto facebook I was confronted by a Facebook Places sidebar on my homepage filled with checkins showing two entirely unconnected places, showing all my friends who had checked in there using Facebook places and showing messages and events relating to those places…

These are places that could only reasonably be connected together, and to me by the fact that I’d checked into these totally disparate places within the last week on FourSquare. So does this now mean that Facebook is now specifically capturing incoming FourSquare requests to post on your wall;  parsing them and storing the location data separately?

In a way it’s cool if it is, but my problem is I can’t actually remember giving Facebook the right to do this? I don’t doubt that buried in page 45 of the terms is a clause saying I’ve sold my soul and first born to them, and to be honest it’s not the end of the world if they are parsing my data – I just think there needs to be a little more transparency from Facebook about how data you submit to your wall via third party apps is used, stored, distributed and re-applied by Facebook. I can certainly imagine that if they continue it’s only a matter of time before there’s a clash between what someone thought they were privately posting to their wall (which may only be visible to a select group of contacts) and what Facebook may (or may not) be parsing/scraping then displaying using Facebook Places to all and sundry.

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