Foursquare published a document entitled Privacy 101 and posted it to their site that says:
- When you check in at a location, it’s like telling a friend where you are. Your check ins are ONLY shared with others when you proactively decide to “check in” to tell Foursquare you’re at a particular location.
- A business owner (say, a restaurant manager) can see their top customers on Foursquare, just as they could identify the people who walk through their door most often.
- Foursquare can tell you who is at a location (we call this ‘Here Now’), but we make the visibility match what happens in the real world:
- You always can see where your friends are if they’ve checked in, just like if they’d texted you to let you know.
- We also give you a glimpse into which other Foursquare users are currently checked in at nearby locations. Since we realize some folks may not want to appear on this “Here Now” list, you can opt out of this feature on your account settings.
- Obviously, there are certain things that don’t have a perfect allegory for the real world (e.g., posting photos to a location or liking a tip), but we try to make responsible choices, communicate them clearly, and give you privacy options where we think you’ll want them.
This was clearly stated in a section of Foursquare’s Privacy 101 that says:
“When you use Foursquare, certain information is public, such as your public user profile information, tips, likes, public photos, lists that you create and lists of friends, and may be shared with or disclosed to third parties, including through our API to a wide range of users and services. We may also share or disclose aggregated and anonymous data, such as anonymized check-in data (that is, not tied to individual users), to third parties, including users of our API, for analytical or other purposes.