Facebook Places outside of the US

Facebook Places in the iPhone app

Facebook Places in the iPhone app

Facebook has just launched its location platform, Places. Annoyingly, they’ve chosen to make it US only for now, so even though you can see your US friends’ check-ins, and the iPhone app has a section for Places, you can’t check-in to a location.

With an iPhone over wifi and an open US based HTTP proxy, you can get around this.

  1. Google “US HTTP proxy”. I used XROXY.com and sorted by USA and HTTP proxy. Choose a high reliability proxy and make a note of its IP address and port number
  2. In you iPhone, go to Settings > Wifi. Tap on the arrow icon for your connected wifi network to bring up the settings for the network
  3. Scroll to the bottom, where it says ‘HTTP proxy’
  4. Tap ‘Manual’ and enter the IP address and port number you got for the proxy
  5. Click on the ‘Wifi networks’ back arrow at the top of the screen
  6. Open Mobile safari and navigate to touch.facebook.com
  7. You should see a yellow alert box with a promo message about Places pointing to the new Places tab
  8. Select the tab and you’re in – once you’ve completed your first check-in all the way through, your account becomes ‘Places-active’
  9. Go back into your wifi network settings and disable the HTTP proxy. #800000;">If you don’t, all of your internet traffic – web, email, apps, passwords – will go via a dodgy computer controlled by who knows who in the US. This is not what you want, trust me.
  10. If you now open the Facebook iPhone app, the Places section now includes a check-in button as well as a list of your friends’ check-ins.

Now that you’ve successfully checked-in once, the Places check-in button should work fine, despite being outside the US of A.

UPDATE: subsequent check-ins fail unless you keep using the US HTTP proxy. This is dumb, because any American users who are used to it working who travel abroad get an error when they try to use it. Equally, anyone travelling to the US can use it there, but not on their return. The error messaging sucks. International users who work for US organisations and have their office network back-hauled to the US can use it on the office network, but not at home. Finally, where is the logic of allowing a Place to be created or checked-in to with a US IP address when the GPS co-ordinates are very obviously not in the US? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

iPhone wifi network settings

select the advanced settings for your connected wifi network

enter HTTP proxy information

enter HTTP proxy information

touch.facebook.com thinks I'm in the US

touch.facebook.com thinks I'm in the US, shows me Places

check-in button is now active in iPhone app

check-in button is now active in iPhone app

About Graham

Forty-something gay geek living in Kings Cross with my collection of shiny computers and my fish.
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