Facebook introduces check-in feature

Social-networking giant Facebook has entered the check-in world. Facebook executives on Wednesday announced the launch of Facebook Places.

Facebook Places is available immediately in the United States through the latest version of Facebook’s iPhone app and, for other advanced mobile phones, through the company’s site for advanced mobile devices, executives announced at Facebook’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

Users who wish to announce their location to their friends on Facebook would tap a “check in” button to see a list of places nearby, and then choose the place that matches where they are.

“After checking in, your check-in will create a story in your friends’ News Feeds [on Facebook] and show up in the Recent Activity section on the page for that place.”

Facebook staff also said the feature will be useful not only to let friends know where they are, but also to learn if their friends are nearby at the same time, and to write down what they are doing at the location and what they think about it — creating a trail allowing friends to see what the writer did there days or even years ago.

When users check into a place, they also can “tag” any Facebook friends who are with them, essentially letting other friends know that the person is there, too. To cut down on the potential for users to falsely tag friends to a place, people can tag friends only if the taggers themselves check in to the location, too.

First, check-ins will appear only to users’ Facebook friends as a default, and users can further trim the recipients list to specific friends. Users also can remove check-ins by phone or web at any time, Sharon said.

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