Facebook Places official

New Foursquare rival hitting US iPhones first before global launch

Tell your pals where you are and what you're up to with new Facey-B feature.

Facebook’s much-mooted Places feature has finally been given the official nod by Zuckerberg and co. The new feature allows you to tag yourself and pals into specific locations, telling the world where you are.

Initially, Facebook Places will only work on the social network’s iPhone app and touch.facebook.com, and then only in the US. When you check-in, your location will be shared with all your friends. If a pal tries to check you in, you’ll receive a notification, asking you whether to accept or decline, via a ‘not now’ button.

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Already, though, Facebook is facing the ire of privacy campaigners, as Places requires you to opt out if you don’t want to get involved, rather than opt in. There’s not a ‘never’ button when a certain pal tries to check you in either, meaning you could face a barrage of notifications if one of your mates gets hooked on the service.

Facebook's press office has been in touch with us though and said the following, "There is a setting in the privacy settings under ‘things others share’ where you can select whether friends can check you in to places or not. You will not be ‘checked-in’ before you have used Places. In account settings, you can turn off email notifications for when people have checked you in. You could also block specific people so they will not be able to check you in. " It says this means the lack of a 'never' button can been circumvented. Facebook also says the default setting for Places will be 'friends only'.

The ‘Here Now’ feature allows pals you might not be with to see who’s tagged in the same location, theoretically so you can meet up. But concerns have already been raised about this information being shared amongst wider groups of people who you may only know tenuously online.

Facebook says Places is no different to being tagged in a photo, with similar controls to stop yourself being seen. But as it rolls out in the US and heads to Android and BlackBerry as promised, issues are bound to come up.

Is Facebook Places a good idea? Or does sharing your location sound like a bad call? Tell us you thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.