If you’ve been relying on the fact that foursquare only shows your most recent activity to hide those embarrassing check-ins, you’ll need to think again about that strategy with the launch of foursquare 5.0. Your friends can now see much more of both your check-in and photo histories.
Like the Facebook news feed, foursquare’s new activity feed lets friends see your earlier check-ins instead of just the most recent one. They’ll appear mixed in with those from other friends on the main friends tab and on the foursquare website, but your friends can access a feed of just your activity from your profile page in the app (much like your Facebook timeline). It shows other activity, too, like friends you’ve added, brands you’ve followed, lists you’ve saved, etc. Friends will also be able to see all the photos you’ve added in the past.
To be clear, your friends aren’t seeing anything new. This is all information you’ve shared with them in the past, it just disappeared a lot faster in previous versions of the app.
On your profile page, non-friends can see public photos you’ve shared. They also see an activity feed of tips you’ve added or liked, brands you’ve followed, etc. All of this has always been visible to non-friends, it’s just being compiled into an activity feed for the first time. They can’t see non-public photos or check-ins.
To address the changes, foursquare has updated their privacy grid.
In my view, these changes aren’t a big deal, but they could make you think twice about the check-ins you share with friends since they’ll be visible much longer than they were previously.
PS If you don’t want to share a check-in with your friends, you can always make it private by tapping the lock icon in the lower left of the check-in screen.