With everything there is always the potential for using something for good, or just downright stalking people. I downloaded the IPAD application last night for Facebook, and overall I really like it. But thought that the mapping feature was simply too interesting to pass up. It makes the perfect stalking tool based on your checkins with Facebook opening the door to a lot of things that people might not expect. Of course it will only show you where your friends are located, but with the number of law enforcement people who friend criminals, this makes hunting down people far too simple. Just a quick demonstration below, and the data is old enough not to matter at this point, but this is a map of where all my friends are in San Francisco, and it really doesn’t matter that I was in Seattle when I did this screen capture.
So if you plan on using Facebook checkins, you need to be very aware that your friends can find you, and under the right circumstances if you friended the wrong person, you can easily be found with this feature. To keep the hysteria down, you can also do the same thing with Four Square, and any other geographic check in feature/game/program. The question is as always, just how much do you want to give away to be the mayor, king, or let your friends (family, stalkers, bill collectors, other authorities) know where you are at a given time.
For some people this is an issue, especially if you are dealing with spouse abuse, or you are wondering if your significant other is busy whiling away the hours in places they should not be. With all things, this is one of those you should really watch to see how this gets used as it is just another data point for lawyers, law enforcement, and others who might have an unnatural interest in where you are going and who you are hanging out with. As long as it is your Facebook friends, in places that people expect you that is awesome. But when you find one of your friends hanging out at the Department of Homeland Security, that might be another matter altogether.
(Cross-posted @ Techwag)