Friday, July 2, 2010

Foursquare Privacy Fail

I've been seeing a number of friends take up with foursquare and I've seen quite a few mentions of their service in the blogs, so yesterday I thought I'd have a look at it and signed up. Bad timing. They chose to get embroiled in a story of a privacy policy that describes something quite different from what they deliver.

That's not the bad part. All of us make mistakes. Rapidly-growing startups probably make more than most. I like it better when people don't make mistakes, but I can live with it—unless it's a matter of life and death. And I can live with the mistakes if the same people don't make a point of repeating the same mistakes all the time.

The thing I can't abide is people and businesses who make mistakes and refuse to admit them or try to conceal the mistakes from the affected people. A recent story in Wired claims that Foursquare Puts Money Before Privacy and backs that up with plenty of data. Read it.

I'm getting sick of companies that don't even pretend to care about their customers and my policy has hardened in past few months. I had already cancelled my Facebook account because of their behaviour—not that you can cancel with them. They just treat you as if you're having a little time out and maintain your account regardless. Major fail. I'm not planning to do anything with foursquare now.


  1. I have some good news: Facebook does have a delete account option, though it's not easy to find. When I deleted my account a couple of months ago I was able to use the following URL to submit a deletion request:
    Provided you don't touch it for two weeks it then disappears permanently from view (and hopefully from their databases too; also I want a pony).

  2. That's useful to know, although what they should have is a simple button on the normal preferences page that says "Delete my account forever" and then does just that.


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