UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 02, 2022

Location-based apps create acceptable stalker society

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If you were to ask me where people I know are, I can tell you with a glance at my Facebook page because location apps have made stalker-ish habits so easy to develop.

Some might say it’s downright creepy. I just think it’s convenient.

Think about it: How many times have you seen the “headed to the gym” post on Facebook and wondered what gym that person goes to? Just wait for that check-in to the gym and you know the name, address and hours — everything you’ve ever wanted to know about that gym.

Let’s say, though, you take it one step further and lurk around to find out who else has checked in at that location. Before you know it, you are scouring for your long-time crush so you know where to work out to run into him or her. No, just me?  Well — moving on then.

Checking in on Facebook is based more on wanting people to know where you are occasionally, which is great, but apps like Foursquare exist for the sole purpose of everyone knowing where you are every time you leave your house. Foursquare is a location-based app that not only gives you points for every check in, but also rewards you with “mayorships” when you check-in multiple times in the same location. I mean come on, how cool is it to have the bragging rights to being mayor of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons?

The creepy aspect of this app to some is the fact it links to both Facebook and Twitter to provide every friend and follower with your exact location. I personally have logged more than 1,000 check-ins on the app between about April of last year and now. To me, apps like this are an amazing tool for individuals, as well as business owners looking for ways to promote their business, in this Internet generation.

Back when I was a kid, we all thought the people with tin foil hats on their heads were hilarious. There was no way government agents, or aliens for that matter, were tracking us — they were just crazy!

Now you look around at how we document our movements and activities with these location-based apps and services we surround ourselves with and wonder: If we make it so easy now for the government to track us through a simple Facebook page, then are the aliens next after all? I certainly hope so. I’ve been trying to signal the mother ship for ages now.