From the very earliest days of foursquare, users have been able to tap on any venue and see everyone who’s checked in there. See someone who looks interesting? Go check in yourself and say hello.
With a relatively recent behind-the-scenes update to foursquare, though, that function has been removed. It’s part of an effort to reduce privacy concerns following the “Girls Around Me” fiasco.
Users can still see the number of people checked in, but their names aren’t revealed unless they’re friends with that person. Once a user checks in to a place, all the names of people who are checked in are shown. The theory is that if you’re actually in a place, you could just as easily take a look around and see who’s there.
The change was announced earlier this summer after foursquare privacy concerns skyrocketed thanks to an app called “Girls Around Me.” As its name implies, the app searched nearby foursquare venues and showed girls (or, optionally, guys) who were checked in nearby. While foursquare acted swiftly to revoke Girls Around Me’s API access, the chose to limit that feature of the API to ensure that no other app could take advantage of the same loophole.
This should only be a minor inconvenience for most foursquare users, but provides a major increase in privacy for everyone.
What do you think of the change?