3 Tips to Keep Your Privacy on Foursquare

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In the world of social networks, Foursquare is sort of like the captain of the cheerleading squad: Its very existence is predicated on the idea of nonstop, chatty oversharing. In practical terms, that means attempts to protect your privacy are almost oxymoronic: When you’re checking in everywhere you wander, tagging friends and posting a firehose of updates to all your other social networks, you've left very little info to the imagination.

Still, Foursquare obviously offers some appealing functionality, including discounts, rewards and coupons (and bragging rights about your badges, if that appeals to you), so it’s all about cutting your privacy losses. For inspiration, take a visit to the daunting matrix linked on the service’s Privacy page that spells out what data and actions are seen by friends or the public at large by default. Now you get it?

1. Hide Your Location

The hard choice to make is whether you broadcast your location publicly, and we’d suggest you opt to make a default setting to hide your location (you can still check in, and they’ll be saved in your history) and then perhaps opt to turn it on for special occasions.

  • Click your name along the top right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  • Click Privacy Settings.

  • Uncheck all the boxes beneath Location Information. Sadly, this prevents you from earning mayorships (sorry).

2. Disconnect Connected Apps

While Connected Apps do some cool stuff, they also dig into your profile, check-in history, as well as your friends’ lists and so on, so consider disconnecting them altogether since you can’t limit specific behaviors.

  • Click your name in the right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  • Click Connected Apps.

  • Disconnect any currently connected services.

3. Disconnect Other Social Networks

As with other networks, connecting Foursquare with Facebook means all the posts you make are stripped of the privacy controls you’ve instituted on one site once they hop to the other. Running Foursquare this way hobbles a lot of its essential functionality, making it a very different beast altogether, but at least one that isn’t gossiping about you in the locker room.

  • Click your name along the top right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu.

  • Click Sharing With Other Networks on the right panel.

  • Click Disconnect next to Facebook and/or Twitter.

BONUS TIP: Disable Radar

Foursquare’s Radar feature, which pings you as you walk around with suggested sites worth checking out, means in effect that you’re being tracked constantly, even when the app isn’t running. (Radar is off by default but runs constantly if you turned it on.)

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