Foursquare Makes it Harder to Unlock Badges

By , CIO |  Internet, Foursquare, Social Networking

However, the changes had some unintended effects: Legitimate Foursquare users received error messages telling them they were too far away from their intended venues, and they wouldn't receive points or unlock badges, even when they were in the correct locations.

For a couple of weeks in April, I got the dreaded Foursquare error messages very frequently, even though I was always right where I said I was. But over the past month, I've only seen the "cheaters warning" screen once or twice. According to Gleason, that's due to a number of improvements made to the system to "reduce false positives."

"We present a user with the warning message if we detect repeated suspicious check-ins," Gleason says. "We look at several factors, such as distance from a venue, distance between venues visited, and timing of check-ins, to determine whether or not a check-in is legitimate."

My experience over the past month does indeed seem to suggest some major progress has been made since the anti-cheating features were first introduced last spring.

How to Unlock the Foursquare Groupie Badge

"Discovering how to unlock badges is part of the fun of Foursquare, so we don't typically like to state how badges can be earned," Gleason says.

Lucky for you, I do like to show others how to get Foursquare badges.

Here's a quick tip on how to unlock the Foursquare "Groupie" badge, which was originally unlocked at South by Southwest 2010, from any Internet-connected PC--no check-in required. You made it all the way to end of this post, you deserve it.

Surf on over to via PC and log in to your account. Then jump over to, and select the following six cards: JetSetter (airplane logo); Super Mayor (crown logo); Pizzaiolo (pizza logo); Local (flag with a star); Player Please! (heart logo); and Newbie (trophy with a star).

Voila! The Groupie badge will be added to your badge collection.

For more on Foursquare, read my tips on reducing privacy risks associated with location-based social networks.

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