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Facebook Places launched in the UK

Share your location with friends

Facebook Places, the social network's smartphone location-sharing service launched last month, has been made available in the UK.

Similar to FourSquare, users of Facebook's iPhone app or the touch.facebook.com mobile site will be presented with a list of nearby friends and places. From here, social networkers can 'check in' to one of the places and tag any friends that are with them, or add a new location.

The UK is the third country to be given the service, following the initial launch in the US and a roll-out in Japan last week. A European launch is expected to follow in the near future.

However, a number of privacy concerns have been raised about the service, as it alerts other web users that a social networker is not home. This information could then be used by criminals to burgle homes.

Recently, a scam in the US that saw criminals monitor when web users 'checked in' to places on Facebook, resulted in 50 homes being broken into $100,000 worth of goods stolen.

Online insurance comparison site Confused.com believes social networkers who use location-based services such as Facebook Places should expect to see their home insurance premiums rise.

"What's happened in the US could be the start of a worrying trend and if insurance providers see it as a potential risk, you can bet your home contents on the fact they'll start pricing for it," Gareth Kloet, head of home insurance, at Confused.com

Kloet even said insurers could decline claims if they believe the customer was negligent by advertising their location on a social network.

In a bid to combat privacy conerns, the social network ensures users are asked if they want to share their location with friends when clicking on the Places tab.

When Facebook unveiled Places, it said the service was designed to do three main things: help people share where they are in a social way, see which friends are nearby and discover nearby places and new places through friends' profiles.

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See also: Geolocation causes Brits to worry about personal security


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