Foursquare now tracks your location, even when you aren’t using it

Aug 6, 2014
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Foursquare now tracks your location, even when you aren’t using it

The new Foursquare app has drawn some mixed reviews. Some consider it a Yelp challenger, aiming to provide you with food reviews more than a social layer. Now that Swarm is handling check-ins, Foursquare is free t do other things… like monitor you constantly.


A new report from The Wall Street Journal touches on the new Foursquare permissions, and they’re uncomfortably intrusive. When you have the app on your device, you’re now allowing Foursquare to check up on you constantly. Even when the app isn’t running, it’s keeping tabs on you (so long as your phone is on, of course).

So why do this? Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley tells ‘The Journal’ it’s to analyze trends and find what’s popular. Almost like forced app-use, Foursquare now wants to know what you do even when you don’t tell it. Say you’re at your favorite ice cream shop, but don’t leave a review in Foursquare. Unless you opt-out fo the new location tracking permission, it knows you were there.

According to Foursquare, it’s not a big deal, though. From the permissions:

Your real-time location is not shared on the Foursquare app. If you write a tip, like or otherwise interact with a place, users may infer that you have been to that location. Some content, like tips, are time stamped and other users could use that information to infer when you were at a place even though tips can be posted when you aren’t at the place you are leaving a tip about.

Further hammering that point home is Crowley himself, saying “It’s been our philosophy since we started that as long as we are recycling the data back to people, people will be interested in using the services. You can’t just collect a lot of information off people and not doing anything with it. It’s not a fair trade.”

Foursquare says the information doesn't have our names attached to it, but that smacks of a company missing the point. Rather than respect the privacy we've come to expect, they'd rather use us to monetize their app via advertising. Crowley said "we might look at anonymized trends and say, there’s a high density of people who like ribs and Arnold Palmers in the East Village" before noting that would be information Advertisers would "be really excited about getting their hands on that data".

The floor is yours, commenters.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


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