Facebook Deals : What About Privacy and Security?

The latest feature released by Facebook, Deals, goes beyond Groupon and Foursquare by combining both services to deliver a location-based deals service.

Facebook emphasised the fact that this is a mobile-only service by limiting its use to smartphones. This is because they normally integrate GPS (or pseudo GPS) functionality that allows the app to find out exactly where the user is.

Redeeming a deal will create a story on your profile or your friend's news feed based on your privacy settings as check ins work in much the same way as with Places, which means the user will have to proactively change their privacy settings if they do not want Facebook to display these details.

It will just be a matter of time before someone come up with a website like pleaserobme, an online service which was set up last year to raise concern about over-sharing and location awareness.

Some of our readers, like Dan, pointed to the fact that Deals is a real-time record of someone's whereabouts, a semi-public one which shows where you are and where you have been.

There is a real concern about how combining real time localisation with any personal activities may impact on an individual's privacy, especially if the data collection occurs across several services (Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook).

As Dave, another of our readers, puts it "This is not only valuable information for all advertisers, it's also valuable information for fraudulent companies, crooks and criminal networks."