In August 2010 Facebook launched Places, a location-based service that allows users to check into points of interest and share their physical whereabouts with friends. The friends who see these events in their News Feed can then respond to these check-ins by liking or commenting on them.
These data consisting of the places people go and how their friends react to them are a rich, novel dataset. In this paper we first analyze this dataset to understand the factors that influence where users check in, including previous check-ins, similarity to other places, where their friends check in, time of day, and demographics.
We show how these factors can be used to build a predictive model of where users will check in next. Then we analyze how users respond to their friends’ check-ins and which factors contribute to users liking or commenting on them. We show how this can be used to improve the ranking of check-in stories, ensuring that users see only the most relevant updates from their friends and ensuring that businesses derive maximum value from check-ins at their establishments.
Finally, we construct a model to predict friendship based on check-in count and show that co-checkins has a statistically significant effect on friendship.