Facebook Places - How to avoid getting caught out by your partner

Before we begin this guide, Pocket-lint would like to suggest that perhaps the best way to avoid falling out with your partner over Facebook Places would be to have a healthy, open and honest relationship in the first place, where your loved one isn’t going to have any issues about where you go, with whom and at what time.

Right, now that the goody two shoes bit is out of the way, here’s how to go to as many strip clubs as you like and meet up with all the exes in your little black book, without getting rumbled.

Rule Number 1 - Stop other people checking you in

One of the wonderful new social angles of Facebook Places is that your friends can tag you in their check-ins, thus checking you in on your behalf. That’s all very nice if you’re going for a quick drink after work, but not so good if you said you’d be heading straight home.

So, go to your Facebook account. Now. Are we there? Good. Click on the Account menu in the top right corner and then Privacy Settings. This should take you to a screen you might remember from when Facebook reshuffled its policies on sharing a while back.

At the foot of the table is a small link to hit where it says "Customise Settings". Do so. Now you’ll be presented with a screen with far more granular options. Scroll down to the second big section entitled “Things other’s share”, go to "Friends can check me into places" and set it to Disabled. Now that that’s sorted, no-one is going to be able to give away your whereabouts by tagging you when you’re with them. They’re also not going to be able to stitch you up by claiming you’re in a house of ill repute when, in fact, you’re not at all.

Rule Number 2 - Consider allowing some people to check you in

If your “Friends can check me in” setting is enabled, you’re still not completely open to getting caught out. The first time each of your friends attempts to tag you in one of their check-ins, Facebook will ask you if it’s okay for this friend to do so, and it will set the rules accordingly. It might be wise to allow some of your buddies this access. That way it doesn’t seem so suspicious that nobody ever checks you in anywhere. Just make sure to disallow those who you’re most likely to get up to mischief with.

Rule Number 3 - Keep an eye on your notifications

If you’re allowing a few people here and there to check you in, then make sure you keep an eye on the notifications telling you that you’ve been tagged at one place or another. Just like with photos and videos, you can remove a Places tag and erase all evidence in your News Stream and your partner’s to suggest that you were ever seen somewhere you shouldn’t have been.

Rule Number 4 - Don’t get spotted “here now”

Once checked in to any location, Facebook also has a section called “People Here and Now” which displays a list of profiles of people who have checked in to any given location. The good news is that only people checked into a location can view all the Here and Now people. So, for example, if you’ve checked in to the Blue Oyster Bar on Powell, you’ll be able to see everyone else on Facebook who’s done so whether you’re friends with them or not?

Unfortunately, jealous lovers can quite easily check in to the Blue Oyster Bar as well, even if they’re sitting at home in front of the TV, and check that their partners are not there themselves. The bottom line is to just remove yourself from the People Here and Now altogether. To do that, head over to the Privacy area > Customise Settings and then untick the last box of the “Things I share” section entitled “Include me in People Here and Now after I check in”. Congratulations, you are now totally exempt from Here and Now.

Rule 5 - Check who you check in to

The most obvious way to make sure that your partner doesn’t know where you are is by customising who it is that can see the Facebook Places you check in to. Head to the "Customise Settings" screen and scroll down to where it says “Places I check in to”. Select “Custom” from the drop down menu and it’ll pop up a small window where you can hand pick which of your friends can see your whereabouts or which can’t. Select to hide check ins from your partner and you’re all set.

Rule 6 - Cheat

Facebook Places doesn't have to be something to dob you in. You can always use it as an alibi as well. Make sure you've disabled your friends tagging you and Here and Now, then head off to wherever it is that your partner doesn't want you to be and, when you arrive, check in somewhere completely different.

Final Rule - Just opt out

If all of this sounds too complicated, then your best move - aside coming clean about your entire life - is to just disable Facebook Places altogether. That’s done by a combination of all three settings in the Customise Settings menu. Change “Places I check in to” to “Only Me”, untick the “Include me in People Here and Now after I check in” box and disable “Friends can check me in”. Hey presto, you have now effectively switched off Facebook Places, unless of course you’d like to make check ins that only you can read - oh, and all the third party apps you signed up to as well, of course.

Will you be using Facebook Places when it comes to a social network near you? Are both Foursquare and Google Latitude already sufficient or is the whole idea abhorrent? Let us know in the comments.



>