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Welcome addition but privacy scrutiny inevitable

Facebook set to launch geo-location features

Facebook has invited the press to a "news event" where the company is expected to announce new geo-location features for the site’s 500 million users.

The social networking giant has been tipped to unveil a geo-location API to enable developers creating Facebook applications to gain access to user location. The move places Facebook in competition with other services such as Google’s geo-location enabled Buzz and the popular social networking web site Foursquare.

Foursquare is a web and mobile application that provides social networking features such as posting locations onto Twitter and Facebook while also containing game like mechanisms such as becoming the mayor of a location based on number of check-ins.

Incorporating geo-location directly into Facebook will undoubtedly provide new and interesting applications as well as attractive new features for Facebook users. However the move is also likely to face considerably scrutiny based on privacy controversies which have dogged the company.

Geo-location information has the capability to do more than cause embarrassment but to facilitate stalking, robbery and more. Facebook executives will likely be questioned closely by the gathered press this afternoon at the launch event.

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