Facebook will be adding a location feature to its user updates as early as this month. The social networking site is the latest addition to the geography-centric conversation that has been going on with check-in mobile application
s such as FourSquare and GoWalla, and as new functionality from recognized services like Google Latitude and Twitter Location. According to AdAge, Facebook will include an option for users to post their location when they post an update in their news feed.
Additionally, this feature will be capitalized on by McDonald's, who is building an app that will allow users to check in at their restaurants "and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder, say executives close to the deal." The article clarifies that this deal was negotiated as part of a larger media buy on Facebook, but the fast-food chain will be the first marketer to use the service. Other shops are readying systems to allow users to include their own locations the their status update.
As a possible source of competition to location-based services such as those above, Facebook does have the huge consumer base to be attractive to brand campaigns. Foursquare has had many partnerships with marketers looking to drive offline sales, such as Bravo and MTV.
However, monetization is not the primary goal of the new feature, says Kevin Colleran, director-national sales at Facebook. He explains that the Facebook app makes no money, but that advertising from the main site generates sufficient revenue.
Given the recent assertions that Facebook cares little for guaranteeing privacy, many see the inclusion of location in the site to be potentially problematic. ReadWriteWeb worries that this feature will be foisted upon the unsuspecting 400 million users that complain about the opaque privacy settings, not to mention the periodic lapses of site-wide security.