Facebook’s at-times-controversial location service Places has begun rolling out to Australian users from today. Fortunately, if you don’t fancy the idea of letting anyone who knows you broadcast where you are, it’s possible to switch it off.
Once signed into Facebook, click on the Account button, choose Privacy Settings and click on Customize settings. Under ‘Places I check in to’, choose Customize, and choose ‘Only Me’. Also make sure that you haven’t ticked the Enable box next to ‘Include me in “People Here Now” after I check in’. Further down the screen, find ‘Friends can check me into Places’ and click on Edit Settings, select Disabled, click Okay and you’re good to go.
Update: You also need to disable access to your location by applications your friends use. From the main Privacy settings page, click on Applications and Websites at the bottom right, find ‘Info accessible through your friends’ and click Edit settings. Make sure ‘Places you check in to’ isn’t selected (and deselect everything else as well unless you’re a heavy apps user).
This is yet another example of Facebook making its privacy-related settings far more fiddly to disable than seems necessary — four settings to switch off one feature, for crying out loud! — but it can be done.