Foursquare Shaking Their Finger At Cheaters

By Adam Zeis on 8 Apr 2010 11:02 am EDT

foursquare cheaters

In a statement on their blog yesterday, foursquare announced a new effort to cut down on "cheating check-ins". Its no secret that many users check in to locations they are nowhere near in attempt to earn points, badges and mayorships. With the new plan, foursquare intends to better use the GPS on your mobile device to determine your exact location, meaning if they don't think you are where you say you are, you get nothing.

What we'd like to do is award points, mayorships and badges only when you're at the place you say you're at. Last week we started using a few different tricks using your phone's GPS to try to verify this. (and if your phone doesn't use GPS, we use a few different tricks)

Now, we're never going to NOT let you check-in - you can checkin wherever you want, whenever you want - the idea is simply to not award points, mayorships, badges or venue specials if it looks like you didn't really earn them.

Some users are already having issues trying to check into familiar places and being told they aren't really there. This could be a good move by foursquare to cut down on cheaters, but it also may deter some frustrated users from continuing on with the service. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts. 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Foursquare Shaking Their Finger At Cheaters


It prevented me (and coincidentally my bff) from checking in our usual places of home/work when we were outside in clear view of the sky (using Storm2 9550)... We weren't happy.

I realize the service is still in BETA, so there will be some issues. In the meantime, I'll still be using it.

I also always close the program once I check in to deter battery drain...

Ever since this went into effect I can't login even nearby the place, like 20 feet away. We know GPS is off sometimes but Foursquare is going overboard with this cheater thing. Who really cares. Be a mayor of this and that, it's a game. Just let it be.

I love using foursquare and my fiance and I love to compete on getting mayorships at places. My problem though is that it picks me up at places across town and such and its a pain. I wish we would get a heads up on when this would get a new update and get out of beta.

It told me that my phone did not agree with where I was checking in and I would be awarded no points. I was in right outside of the BLDG. I think the software has a few bugs when talking to the GPS module in the phones.

I was nearby the location and my phone keeps telling me no badge for you. WTF? I think there will be more complaints about this than there were about cheaters!

I am at the detroit airport right now and foursquare will find every gate but not the airport itself. By allowing everyone to add whatever they want it has duplicates of duplicates. Can't find the legitimate locations anymore. Also depends on where physically the person was who entered the location as to how accurately it will listed

and I could only check in because it said where I was and the location of the Rita's was 6,000 meters away.
It's been happening for about 10 days now with this issue. I am at the location even though foursquare says I am not.

foursquare did this to themselves. At first glance I though FS was great in that you could let your friends know where you are and thus meet up or know where everyone else is.

Most don't use it that way. They use it to get more more more silly badges thus it's not that useful to me.

I've not been able to check in since the past few days even if I'm standing put at the location itself. Foursquare is totally screwed if they continue doing it without doing any homework.
God know how they determine your exact location other than using phone signals or GPS. But what about devices without GPS? Do they even use GPS at all? Can't say they use Google Maps, as I've check that Google Maps give kinda accurate readings on my current location but not Foursquare.
If this continues, I don't think I'll waste my time any further. And I guess many out there agrees with me.

I bet ur consider a cheater if u check in at top shop oxford circus then went to selfridges oxford street and u dun get any points cos the gps is not that accurate unless u go to bayswater then only u could check in again and earn some points. Do u have to key in the address which is currently optional? What about the postcode and city? This is only in London how about you travel to Windsor I bet after u leave for the shopping mall you can't check in to Windsor Castle cos ur still considered at the same location based on the gps accuracy.. Hmmm just when users are happy and when they get millions worldwide there is sumthing or sum1 with a great idea and bring the whole foursquare down again into the abyss

I think it is æ better approach to thƺ cheating thing. Yƺá ú® gps is gonna be off sometimes but hey they're getting their. I don't get annoyed as easy so thƺ whole thing doesn't ®ƺ@llý bother mƺ. I used it properly be4 this, and I don't have æ problem wit fixing cheaters

...that people will cheat at ANYTHING! Good grief. One more reason for me not to bother with something like this.

Cheaters never prosper...leave the app alone. I would hate to try and check in and they say I'm not going to be awarded any points

it said i was in new york, when in fact, i'm in western pa. that was bogus. i'm half tempted to stop using it anyways. i forget to "check-in" everytime i go somewhere anyways.

I can no longer check in at my own house. I was in front of a starbucks yesterday and 4sq told me I was too far away to get points. I understand why they wanted to do this, but as of right now, it stinks

Can someone explain this in Fisher Price terms to me what the hell Foursquare is? I'm not being cocky, I really don't understand the purpose.

This is not really a problem on its own since it's no how the system's supposed to work anyway. However, Foursquare really needs to work on fixing the app on the BlackBerry. Their app has serious issues fixing the location and even if it does find you, the listing of places fails to include places that are actually near you. Also, it takes a long time. I find myself having to search for almost every place I'm checking into to, which you're only allowed to do after the places "finding" is "complete." The iPhone app seems to handle the places/location thing much better. Since checking into places is core functionality for Foursquare, this makes the user experience frustrating and not giving you checkins because you're not "there" will further hurt the experience.

I havent been able to get points or mayorships all week. Im standing inside the venues. I even took pics to show that im there and no points & no mayorships. Freaken aye.

If you care enough about Foursquare that this upsets you, you really need to reexamine your life priorities.

It happened to me, too. I was at the bar, it was legitimate but still I didn't get any badge. I can understand GPS is not working inside the buildings and that sometimes the A-GPS ( tower) triangulation is a 5 mile radius but it's FS' job to try and find a way to tell if a client is at the location or not. I can't find any perfect way to do it, like everything around us.

Whatever they did to the system has me stuck in a particular area now and I use the Motorola Devour (former BB Curve owner). Like...I was 25 minutes away and it still had me in the vicinity of the movie theater I went to on Friday.

I. Don't. Like.