Consumer Opinions Show Facebook Places Not Yet Foursquare Killer

Facebook Places shows some early installed-base strength, but users still express a significant measure of faith in Foursquare vs. the larger up-start. 68% of opinions analyzed show negative sentiment toward Facebook Places with concerns over privacy ruling the day.

Analysis period: August 18 (Facebook places announced) through Aug 30, 2010. A total of 86K social media posts were analyzed on the topic: 51K Facebook posts and 35K Twitter/Tweets.
Key Insights From the Dialogue So Far:

  • During first few days after the Facebook Places launch, comments expressed significant excitement, but a general hesitation to support Facebook Places was reflected in relatively low positive sentiment at this time (only about half positive in first few days)
  • After the first few days, a significant and broad outcry emerged about privacy concerns related to the Facebook Places feature allowing check-in of friends without their approval and ability to find people using GPS application without their knowledge
  • However, during this period of time, the overall volume of comments decreased significantly, reflecting that the vocal few were continuing to voice concern about privacy as voice of positive excitement died down
  • Currently, conversation about Facebook Places is increasing again and along with that, positive sentiment is increasing showing more momentum building around Facebook Places
  • Although negative options surrounding Facebook Places outnumber positive during the sample period, if you remove the relatively heated sentiment related to privacy concerns (26% of total volume), positive and negative become more balanced (with negative still the stronger category, though less of a land-slide)
  • Contrary to some popular opinions, Foursquare is far from dead. That being said, sentiment indicates Facebook Places will become a major threat with careful tweaks to its privacy policy and by adding new features aimed at making existing Foursquare users more comfortable with switching rather than using what some called a “cheap knock-off”

A more detailed break-out of consumer opinions follows below.
Pro Facebook Places – Positive Opinions (32% of total volume)

  • The ‘End of FourSquare’: People expressing that they believe FB Places will result in FourSquare’s demise (12%)
  • Facebook Population: People saying that the fact that all their friends are on Facebook and this will drive them to use the application more than others (12%)
  • Facebook Places is Better: People indicating that their experience so far with Facebook has been better (8%)

Against Facebook places – Negative Opinions or pro FourSquare (68% of total volume)

  • Lacks Features/Coverage: Complaints about the lack of features and coverage of Facebook Places (16%)
  • Copies Competitors: Indicating that it Facebook Places is just a cheap knock off of FourSquare or Gowalla (18%)
  • Privacy Concerns: Indicating that there are major problems with Face Book Places and users’ ability to protect their privacy/location (26%)
  • Like FourSquare Better: People indicating that their experience so far with FourSquare has been better (8%)

Are you happy with Foursquare or Gowalla? Is Facebook Places a must try for you?† Weíd love to hear your perspectives.
As always, we’ll continue monitoring the topic for interesting trends. In the meantime, feel free contact us at with questions or to learn how your market, brand or product could benefit from leveraging the Crimson Hexagon Opinion Analysis Platform for social media monitoring and analysis.

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