Why Foursquare Really Killed Creepy Stalking App ‘Girls Around Me’


Foursquare doesn't ever want you thinking about not doing this, but maybe you should.
Foursquare doesn't ever want you thinking about not doing this. That's why you definitely should.
  • James Cook

    ‘so strangers can identify you by site’, should be ‘sight’ :)

  • blueTitanium

    Did anyone else notice Darth Vader just standing there in the door?

  • Michael Bauser

    i-Free could restore core functionality back to Girls Around Me just by limiting the venues a user can track to one at a time. But is that really any better? It still allows creeps — whether potential stalkers, rapists or just pick-up artists and ballers — to research women who probably don’t even know they are exposed as potential “targets.” The only difference is, they’ve got to have a venue in mind, not just a neighborhood: the Independent, say, instead of Union Square in Somerville.

    You don’t need Girls Around Me for that. If a Foursquare user adds Facebook/Twitter accounts to their public profile, you can reach those accounts through the standard Foursquare app. Most people don’t realize that, because the feature is hidden behind a button (“Contact”) that almost nobody uses. And the “Contact” button has an icon indicating if the user is female!

    So, yeah. Girls Around Me’s “crime” was making Foursquare look bad.

    (Tangent: The “Apps You Might Like” widget on this story is recommending a hilariously insensitive set of apps right now: Girls Orgasm, Girls & Drinks, Girls Around Me, and 50+ Things Girls Wish. There are a lot of jerks creating iPhone apps these days, aren’t there?)

  • myforumscontact

    Good work on the article.

    I think you went too far when you said women weren’t stupid. You also didn’t point out that men are stupid. Like math few care about how information gathering works. And like math it’s fashionable to not want to know anything about it. So we are in the middle of the information crime spree that most dont know even exists… or at least can’t visualize at any rudimental level level, much less the mind blowing levels that some of us can. And as creeps understand how information works more, and the social network users continue to ‘care less’ the future holds bigger trouble.

    The worst part is explaining to someone how these entities got your information. As a general rule they think you’ve been watching too many CSI shows, and then they go watch CSI and I go reading for six hours.

  • benethul

    your analogy with the dark alley is flawed. it would be better to say, not that the bars had happened to not install a light there as a public service, but instead that they had intentionally left one out – even removed it – and then went on to let guys know that lots of girls leaving the bar (you can insinuate that they’re drunk all on your own) head that way. if the bars have just left the lights out, they’re not contributing to the problematic situation, they’re just not improving it. Girls Around Me is directly and actively contributing to the problem.

    either way, however, none of these parties – the victim nor the bar nor the App – is to blame. not really. the victim wasn’t Asking For It by walking that way. again, not adding a light doesn’t make it the bar’s fault. making publicly available the information and location of unwary persons is a bit more grey-area – it might make them accomplices, it certainly facilitates problematic activity, but blaming them is akin to blaming weapons manufacturers when someone gets shot (which is not an entirely baseless accusation, really).

    the ultimate blame lies entirely with the asshole who decided to rape someone. seems like an obvious point, really, but people forget it awfully often, so it’s worth driving home.

  • Parrett

    “That’s before I heard from hundreds of women over the weekend who had absolutely no idea Foursquare and Facebook shared so much about them by default. And the reason they have no idea? Not because they’re stupid, or careless, but because Foursquare and Facebook ultimately don’t want them to know.”

    It’s also because Facebook does not ALLOW you to keep your entire profile private. I check the privacy settings approximately every month. And they consistently get more and more public. It’s almost impossible to create a “private” profile. And here is their statement when you TRY to make your profile private:

    “On Facebook, your name, profile picture, gender, networks, username and user id (account number) are always publicly available, including to apps (Learn Why). Also, by default, apps have access to your friends list and any information you choose to make public.”

    I don’t WANT my name, pic, gender, networks, or any of that information publicly available. And as an original Facebook user (y’know, back when it was just a couple of colleges and you had to have an .edu e-mail to sign-up), these new changes are atrocious and unwanted. If I wasn’t a ‘public’ figure in my area (I do a lot of politics, rallies, youth work, etc.), I would delete my account. Unfortunately, Facebook has proven to be a really great way to educate people on important issues and articles (such as this one – ironically…)