Online Safety: Deactivating Facebook ‘Places’

The new Facebook feature ‘Places,’ is designed to share the location of posters. It lets other know where you are, which can be useful if you want to find friends, and frightening, when used by a stalker or others with ill intent.

Disturbingly, ‘Places’ debuted on Wednesday with its capabilities turned on, not off. This means that until you take steps to stop it, your privacy (and your children’s privacy) is compromised. And—like other new features in Facebook that have drawn recent complaints, it is not simple and straightforward to turn it off.

This is what you can do to disable it.

1. Log into Facebook.

2. Click on the ‘Accounts’ drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of your screen and choose ‘Privacy Settings.’ You will see ‘Places’ towards the end of the list and a dot in the ‘Friends Only’ column.

3. Below the list of settings, click ‘Customize settings.’ It is shown circled in red in the screenshot just above.

4. You will then see a screen with two settings that you can change (in the rectangle on the screenshot below). First, disable the lower one, by unchecking the ‘Enable’ box.

5. Next, click on the drop-down menu that says ‘Friends Only’ and choose ‘Customize.’ You will see the ‘Custom Privacy’ setting box shown in the screenshot below. On the drop-down menu, select ‘Only Me,” and click the ‘Save Setting’ button.

6. This will take you back to the screen shown below 4. above. At the left of the gray bar towards the top of the screenshot, you will see a button called ‘Back to Privacy’ with a back arrow. Click it and verify that the dot shown under ‘Friends Only’ in the screenshot under 2. above has been moved to the ‘Other’ column. Your location is now private.

For more information on Facebook ‘Places’ settings, see this article in PCWorld