Location based social networking (LBSN) applications are part of a new suite of emerging social networking tools that run on the Web 2.0 platform. LBSN is the convergence between location based services (LBS) and online social networking (OSN). LBSN applications offer users the ability to look up the location of another "friend" remotely using a smart phone, desktop or other device, anytime and anywhere. Users invite their friends to participate in LBSN and there is a process of consent that follows. Friends have the ability to alter their privacy settings to allow their location to be monitored by another at differing levels of accuracy (e.g. suburb, pinpoint at the street address level, or manual location entry). This paper explores the impact of LBSN upon society, especially upon trust between friends. The study used focus groups to collect data, and a qualitative approach towards analysis. The paper concludes that while there are a great many positive uses of LBSN, there are some significant problems with current applications, and that better design is required to ensure that these technologies are not exploited against a user to commit harm.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/roba-abbas/32/