Facebook really, really wants to shut Foursquare down. Not unreasonably, it’s scared of other social networks suddenly taking over and turning it into an empty husk that only your parents use. That’s part of the reason it bought Instagram, to shut a competitor down before it got too big.
The problem is that most people, not unreasonably, loathe Facebook Places. Some have a problem with Facebook collecting too much information, others just don’t want to get trolled. Facebook tried to sneak in that you could be tagged in a place without your knowledge, but that didn’t quite work out.
So now they’re resorting to bribery.
Facebook has hidden in their code a new source of likes called “Social Wi-Fi”, although it’s currently a bit up in the air as to what this actually means:
The explanation for the graph tooltip currently reads “People who liked your Page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi.”.
I’d suggest that page owners of local businesses would be able to associate their public wifi hotspots with their Facebook page. Then, a callout on the Facebook homepage could suggest wifi users become a fan of that page.
Another possibility, of course, is that the Wi-Fi hotspot won’t open up unless you Like a business’s page… or check into Places.
The blogger, Tom Waddington, notes that it’d be more difficult to get “useful social data” from such a plan, which is probably a nice way of saying that tying WiFi in coffee shops to violating your privacy will probably result in said coffee shops being burned to the ground by angry hipsters and nerds.
On the other hand, enraging its users has stopped Facebook… when, precisely?