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Foursquare Updates Its Privacy Policy To Display Full Names

Popular mobile check-in service recently sent out an email to all of its subscribers detailing their plans for 2013. One of these plans is the changes to be done in its privacy policy which is expected to take effect this coming January 28. The company will now display a user’s full name instead of the current mix of full name and “ first name, last initial” which they say leads to confusion.


Below is the full email sent to Foursquare users.

Hello Foursquare community!

2012 has been a pretty huge year. We’ve released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It’s a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.

As our product evolves, one of the things we do is update our policies to match it. And a big aspect of that is privacy (something we think about a lot). This email lays out a couple changes that we’ll be making to our privacy policy in the coming month, and explains how they affect you and what you can do about it.

We know that privacy policies can be dense, so we put together a high-level document that we think of as our “Privacy 101.” It describes, in an easy-to-read way, how we build privacy into our product. While it doesn’t replace the legal need for the complete description of our privacy practices (which you can read here), we hope it helps you better understand how we think about privacy. We’ve also added new explanations of how privacy works throughout the app in our FAQs, including our default privacy settings and how they can be adjusted.

In addition to creating and refining those documents, we want to point out two specific changes to our policy, both of which will go into effect on January 28, 2013.

1. We will now display your full name. Currently, Foursquare sometimes shows your full name and sometimes shows your first name and last initial (“John Smith” vs. “John S.”). For instance, if you search for a friend in Foursquare, we show their full name in the results, but when you click through to their profile page you don’t see their last name. In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense. But we get emails every day saying that it’s now confusing. So, with this change, full names are going to be public. As always, you can alter your ‘full name’ on Foursquare at

2. A business on Foursquare will be able to see more of their recent customers. Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we’re going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you’d prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at

The Foursquare of today is so different than the first version that launched in 2009, and we appreciate that you let us continue to evolve and build our vision. This occasionally means altering our privacy policy. When we do, we make it a priority to come up with clear ways to help you understand your privacy choices, and to communicate them clearly. If you have any questions or want more details, head over to our updated privacy policy or

Have a lovely holiday, and thanks for being part of the nearly 30,000,000-strong Foursquare community. We have a lot planned for 2013!

– Team Foursquare

Foursquare was launched last May 2009 and now has an estimated estimated 20 million users worldwide. Aside from the usual check-ins you will also earn badges and mayorship positions which make it very engaging.

GoWalla “Pruning Branches” On Some Of Their Features, There Goes Another Social Outlet For Me

GoWalla announced on their public blog today that after two years of constant feedback they are going to make adjustments and changes to the ever growing GoWalla app.

If you’re not familiar with GoWalla, the Austin TX based start up is a competitor to Foursquare that made a unique stamp, on at least the way I do social check in, by encouraging pin earning trips and being about where you’ve been moreso than where you are right now.  GoWalla took the hipster must check in out and made it, in my opinion, more of a personal time capsule of travel.

GoWalla had built a fun albeit qwirky feature into their system called items.  You could check in one place and receive a backpack that someone left there (virtual mind you) and then you could leave say a pair of headphones, a briefcase, a phone or whatever for the next person.  While there’s really no point to this besides fun, it was fun.

More after the break