Facebook Places has launched in the UK, after rolling out in the US last month, allowing users to share their location and see if their friends are nearby. Most UK users will be able to access the service today and it will be available to everyone in the UK over the next couple of days. However, privacy issues have been raised.

Tell your fiends where you are.

Similar to location-based social networks such as Foursquare and Gowalla, Facebook Places requires users to check in and pinpoint their location. It will also be possible to see if your friends are nearby and you’ll receive alerts when someone comes into your area.

You will also be able to tag friends who have signed up to Facebook Places to include them in your location updates.

‘Bump into’ people randomly

The idea of Facebook Places is that it makes it easier to meet up with people in ‘real life’ as well as just in cyberspace (it’s up to you whether that’s a good thing).

Find out where your friends go boozing

Facebook Places will also let you see where your friends are hanging out so you can stalk them in their favourite bar.

How to use Facebook Places

Facebook users can check in with their iPhone Facebook app, or visit touch.facebook.com, to get access to the tool. You then need to select ‘Places’, tap the ‘Check-In’ button, and then a list of nearby places will come up on the screen.

What about privacy?

Unsurprisingly, Facebook Places has been hit by privacy concerns. Facebook have defended the new service by saying:

“For minors [aged 13-17], we made sure to restrict visibility of tags just to friends [and friends of friends] only, no matter what the minor chooses to do.

“Although the service is operated on an opt-out basis unlike most of the features on Facebook Places, Google has said it will not publish images of properties where a member of the public has made such a request as it looks to placate a particularly hostile reaction in the country.”

Check out Facebook Places for yourself here: facebook.com/places