How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

Starting January 28th, Foursquare will divulge more of your private information to complete strangers. If that freaks you out, it's time to lockdown your privacy. Luckily, it's very easy.

In an effort to avoid an Instagram-like privacy debacle, Foursquare has gone ahead and told users the two changes that are likely to cause a stir:

  • Your "Full Name" will now be public information. Previously, people who weren't your friends could only see your first name and last initial.
  • Businesses you visit will have greater access to the record of your visit.

That might not seem like such a big deal, but it's kind of creepy to think that some stranger at a bar can see your check-in and instantly go about Facebook stalking you. Furthermore, Foursquare hasn't specified just how far it plans to go in terms of showing businesses your check-ins. You love your bartender, but you dont want your bartender to know just how much you love her. Here's how to take back your Foursquare:

1. Change your full name to whatever you want. You can just use your last initial if you want to show up as before.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

2. Or you can change your name to something clever that will only make sense to your friends anyway.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

3. Now, let's head over to the privacy settings page at https://foursquare.com/settings/priva.... If the new bit about businesses being able to see that you've been hanging around their place even after you're long gone bothers you, just block them from seeing you at all.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

4. And while we're in the Privacy settings here, consider blocking strangers from seeing your check-ins. That's always been kind of weird anyway. In fact, there's only eight checkboxes. Why not take a moment to read what you're letting Foursquare do with your email and phone number as well as your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

5. Friendly reminder: Never post anything to a social network you wouldn't want the whole world to see. If you're dragging ass at work you want your boss to think it's because you're overworked, not because you were out partying.

How to Protect Your Privacy on Foursquare

Voila! Your Foursquare is safe. You may now resume bragging to your friends about your excellent taste in restaurants. [Foursquare]