Should I enable location-based services on social media?

Popular location-based services on mobile phones include getting turn-by-turn directions as you move and finding the closest ATM or gas station. Social media apps like FourSquare are now using your location to give you coupons or information on specials from nearby merchants, and with Facebook Places even your friends can tell others where you are if you let them.

Letting others know where you are in the real world through social media apps, however, can have risks. It may make it quite easy for an unwanted admirer to find where you live, a burglar to see that you are on vacation in Italy or for some stranger to locate your child’s pre-school, as reported in this NBC News segment. Even your pictures can tell others where you are if you allow automatic “geotagging” by your mobile phone.

The wireless industry association CTIA’s recommended best practices for location-based services include making you aware of how they using your location data, asking you for consent and reminding you periodically you are sharing your location. If you want to be careful about showing others too much about where you are or where you like to go, or your children, you can control which sites can use your location information in the app’s settings, or you can simply go to General Settings and turn off your phone’s GPS.

You also need to manage your privacy settings on social media sites to better control who can see or search your photos, as we explain in, How do I keep my personal information private among my friends on social networking sites?

See also,

Is tagging photos safe on social media?

Social Media Goes Mobile

What social networking risks should I talk about with my children?

Other Resources

How to Disable Mobile Geotagging (CNET) – YouTube:

Apple Responds To Privacy Risks Concerning Access To Contact Data