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Facebook Places Rolled Out In The UK

Facebook Places, the newest addition to the social networking giant, has now been officially rolled out in the UK. The service, which allows users to ‘check in’ to locations from their mobile devices or iPhone applications, has already been unveiled in the US and Japan and the whole of Europe is thought to be next on the list.

According to Facebook, the service is designed to help users share where they are in a social environment, see which of their friends is nearby and to help people to discover new places through their friends and contacts.

The new feature hasn’t been met as positively as Facebook might have hoped however, as many people have simply accused Facebook of ripping off the already popular FourSqaure; which allows users the same feature. Mory worrying for Facebook however, are the numerous concerns raised regarding the security of the latest addition of the site. As Places shows users where other users are, criminals in the US have been using the information to burgle houses, safe in the knowledge that the occupant isn’t home. In one American city, upwards of 50 homes are reported to have been burgled by criminals using information gained on Facebook places; stealing possessions reported to be worth around $100,000.

The concerns around Facebook’s latest feature look set to have a genuine financial impact on users too, as insurance companies suggest that users of the service might see a rise in their insurance premium. Confused.com confirmed this possibility, suggesting that anything that insurers see as an increase in potential risk will result in a higher premium, regardless of the way that risk is presented.

Even more worrying for users, some have pointed out that victims of burglary may see their claims declined if they have used the Places feature without alerting their insurance company.

It’s yet another privacy and security concern for Facebook to deal with, adding to the long line of previous issues with the social media site. Zuckerburg and his team have tried to address the situation, allowing users to opt in to allowing their friends to see their checked in locations. Whether or not this will convince potential users in the UK remains to be seen, but either way it will be interesting to see how the new feature is received in Britain.


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