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Facebook Releases New 'Places' Feature

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a news conference yesterday, where he announced the launch of Facebook Places.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a news conference yesterday, where he announced the launch of Facebook Places.

Earlier this week, a number of technology reporters speculated Facebook would make a product announcement at a news conference yesterday.

They were right.

At the event, the company previewed "Facebook Places," which will go live in the U.S. today.

According to Epicenter, the tool "will let users check-in from a mobile device, see who is around them, let friends or the public know where they are, and find interesting, new places."

Several groups have already expressed concern about online privacy. After the announcement, the ACLU of Northern California released a statement, entitled "Facebook Places: Check This Out Before You Check In."

"In the world of Facebook Places, 'no' is unfortunately not an option," it reads -- in bold text, no less. "Places allows your friends to tag you when they check in somewhere, and Facebook makes it very easy to say 'yes' to allowing your friends to check in for you."

But when it comes to opting out of that feature, you are only given a 'not now' option (aka ask me again later). 'No' isn't one of the easy options.

The organization has also prepared a resource page, which it promises to update regularly.

Facebook has partnered with several companies against which it could've competed: Foursquare and Gowalla, which Epicenter calls "the net's leading location check-in services," and Yelp.

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