Adding your home on foursquare has always been a dicey proposition in terms of privacy. Once you became mayor it showed on your profile with a pin pointing directly to it. If you added the address, it showed up right there on the page, making it easy for anyone to find exactly where you lived. Even if you took the trouble to create the location away from your home, it was still easily found by superusers since they could just track the pattern of checkins based on the blue dots.
Late last week foursquare quietly rolled out a change that makes your home muchÂ more private â€” as long as it’s properly categorized. Once categorized as a home, venues now show a message that says:
Since this is a home, the exact location is not shared here. This map is of the approximate area.
The map pin disappears and the map is centered on a random spot at least one-quarter mile away from the actual location so it’s no longer easy to tell exactly where the house is. The street address is hidden, with only the city, state and zip visible. Even the superuser loophole has been closed; blue checkin dots no longer show up for superusers.
Venue owners and their friends can still see the address and correct pin location when logged in. Users who find that their home is on foursquare but isn’t categorized properly can use the new “Report a Problem” link to report it to foursquare staff and get it categorized properly.
It appears foursquare has gone through and properly categorized lots of venues that appear to be homes, either by name or by checkin pattern (i.e., only one person has checked in). The number of venues named “home” but without a category has declined drastically over the past few days.
Venues that didn’t get caught by foursquare won’t receive any of the privacy protections, so it’s important for users to take the time to make sure their homes are properly categorized. If you have friends who’ve abandoned foursquare but left their miscategorized home venues in place, it might be worth a nudge to get them to come back to foursquare to get their home updated properly, too.
This is a great enhancement to user privacy on foursquare. Thousands of users have added their homes without realizing the privacy implications of posting that information on the internet, so it’s nice that foursquare has taken these proactive steps to help increase the security of their homes.
Â UPDATE (9/29): Foursquare has confirmed the changes in a blog post.