presentation tonight.Earlier tonight, we sent Facebook some questions probing for more details about user experience on Facebook Places that weren't covered in the
Facebook's presentation about Places focused on the user experience and how adding a location element to social networking will make the experience richer and more useful. The company also gave a shoutout to developers, announcing an Application Programming Interface and bringing developers of other location services on stage to cheer Facebook on. But it glossed over some of the grittier logistics.
ReadWriteWeb's Facebook Places Coverage:
- Tired of Checking In on Multiple Apps? Try Checkin+
- Gowalla 3.0: One Check-In to Rule Them All
- Sponsor Post: The Ultimate Check-in: Your $29.97 Dumb Phone
- Facebook and the Future of Check-ins
- Mappr Brings Foursquare Check-ins to Facebook Groups
- Giant Wooden Pointers at University Remind Students to Check In on Facebook [UPDATED: PHOTOS]
- How to Hack Nike+ for Automatic Foursquare Check-ins
- Facebook Wants to Be Your One True Location
There's good news and questionable news. The good news - users must be "within a certain range" of a location in order to check in, which should prevent users from gaming the system. Facebook had a huge advantage over MySpace because it encouraged users to use their real names; similarly, it's smart to ensure its users' location updates are reasonably accurate - especially considering the emphasis on real-time sharing.
"So, if you're at a bar that is next to a restaurant, it's possible you could check in to the restaurant since it will show up in the list of places nearby. You cannot, however, be in California and check in to the Empire State Building in New York City," a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an email.
The questionable news concerns user-submitted places. If a place doesn't exist in the database provided by Localeze, users can add it and check in right away. But the mechanism for removing inappropriate places - such as a user's home or something offensive - sounds ambiguous and vulnerable to the problems some have had with Facebook's opaque policies for removing fan pages (also Facebook Shutters Political Fan Page, Users Cry Foul).
Users can "report" a place page that they believe violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, but Facebook does not say how quickly place pages will be reviewed or what the criteria for removal might be. In addition, official representatives of a business will be able to claim their place pages using the same verification system in place for fan pages. (A fan page administrator will also be able to merge his or her place page with the official fan page on Facebook.)
We hope that Facebook has a plan and doesn't intend to do this kind of place maintenance by the seat of its pants. Otherwise, the Places feature could get messy in its first iteration - we're imagining check-ins from anywhere from the home of a teenager and her unsuspecting parents to "the Internets" and "your MOM'S LOL!"