From IndieWeb

Foursquare is a venue reviews, recommendations, and lists silo based on its previous location-based checkin support, a feature that was spunout to the separate Swarm application which still shares some data back & forth with Foursquare.


  • review posts (known as "Tips")
  • lists of venues, either as recommendations or reminders
  • venue search, ratings, and recommendations

Feature details:


Foursquare supports creating and sharing lists of venues. By default, Foursquare starts you off with a "to-do" list. It is possible to create lists with any name, so there are many examples of lists of favorite places, collecting places to visit in another city, or lists of places that have something in common.

Past Features

Note: most past Foursquare were included in the spin-off app Swarm. These details pertain the features available in Foursquare until they were removed.


  • Checkins can optionally contain photos or notes.
  • Up to four photos and notes (as comments) can also be added to existing checkins.
  • Only the author of the checkin may add photos, but any of their friends may add comments.
  • Foursquare provides a web hook that can run every time a user checks in. [1]

Nearby Notifications

Foursquare would notify you (opt-out) when some number of friends were at a venue near you, e.g.:

With notification text:

Stop by Internet Archive? Looks
like 3 of your friends are there
right now!


  • Checkin notes have a length limitation of 200 characters.
  • Only up to four photos can be added to a checkin

How To

How To Export

Foursquare has feed files (e.g. .ics) and an API that can be used for export.


Foursquare used to provide feed files of all your checkins in multiple formats: RSS, KML, and ICS.

  • when logged in will show customized feed URLs that use special tokens for access (do not share them)
  • These feed links do not appear to work anymore as of 2022-07-14. They return a "404 not found" error for Manton Reece.
    • Foursquare states: "Please note: The Check-in Feeds functionality has existed for a while now, and we've gone through lots of changes over the years. These unique URLs may or may not still work for you and, unfortunately, we no longer provide support for this feature. YMMV!" Jacky Alciné 2022-07-14

Data export

Under Settings → Privacy Settings, Foursquare has a button to "Export My Data". This used to send an email when an archive was available for your account that included all of your check-in history as JSON. The email appears to never be sent now, as of 2022-07-14.


  1. Set up a Foursquare Developer account at
  2. Write your own script or use an existing one to extract all of your Foursquare data to your local file system.
    • foursquare-to-file.js by Michael Owens
      • The script works by connecting to Foursquare, counting how many checkins you have to determine the total number of pages of data it needs to download, and then it makes periodic calls to the Foursquare API to download the files to your local machine or server, staying within the Foursquare rate limits. (links to foursquare-to-file.js broken as of 2023-09-10)
    • Swarm-Checkins-Import by Aaron Parecki
  3. Convert your Foursquare API JSON files into h-entry files by writing a second script to construct meaningful HTML representations of the checkins.
    • The script mko wrote will handle most of the conversion from a Foursquare JSON object to a h-entry JSON object. Since he uses Indie.js, the script has a decent amount of data relevant only to his purposes at this time, but it would not be difficult to convert the script into a generic converter if needed.
    • this script by aaronpk makes Micropub requests to publish your past checkins to your website



Ben Werdmuller

Ben Werdmüller has been POSSEing his checkins using idno (now Known) on to Foursquare since 2013(??). Examples:

  • ... first check-in on that POSSEd to Foursquare?

Michael Owens

Michael Owens has been POSSEing his checkins to Foursquare since 2014-??-??.

If I check in via my site, it'll check me in via Foursquare and ignore the push response for the checkin (so I don't get duplicate checkins).

Michael also supports PESOS from Foursquare:

I've got a push endpoint on my site, so anytime I check-in on Foursquare through the app, it'll check me in via my site as well.

Aaron Parecki

Aaron Parecki has been POSSEing his Foursquare tips since 2019-10-06.

This works in likely a somewhat controversial way. There are multiple ways to syndicate a tip to Foursquare:

  • I can reply to one of my checkins, and the text of the reply is added as a tip
  • I can reply to a Foursquare venue URL directly
  • I can send the text of a checkin itself as a tip

Manton Reece

Manton Reece has a separate site at for Foursquare/Swarm check-ins. It is hosted on with a custom theme to show a map for each post. Manton imports check-ins either from Foursquare's export or via's Micropub API with OwnYourSwarm.


While not as good as POSSE, those who can support micropub can use OwnYourCheckin or OwnYourSwarm to PESOS their Foursquare posts (with photos) to their website.

Event support

Foursquare does some amount of tracking of what events are happening at venues in their venue database.

Thus part of their UI provides the user of optionally also checking into a specific event at a venue, e.g. a particular showing of a movie at a movie theater, or a concert at a music hall.

The result is that others seeing your checkin see that you also checked in at a specific event at the venue, e.g.:


Foursquare has an API and if you use venue information from it, you must provide attribution/linking.

See also analysis of the Foursquare API by Social Web WG:

Venue claiming

Foursquare provides the ability for someone officially associated with a venue to "claim" that venue which then gives that person more authority over the venue, including the ability to associate events with the venue (as documented above)

See also:

In short:

  • someone from the venue has to go to
  • and claim it as a venue they manage
  • they make you give a phone number to "receive a call to verify your claim". The call asks you to record a sentence stating your name and relationship to the venue. The call appears to not be manually screened, but presumably is archived.
  • they'll either mail you a postcard, or you can pay $1-20 (depending on city) with a credit card to "verify" it



Foursquare was launched 2009-03-06 at the SXSW conference and festival where it quickly gained adoption.

Foursquare Badges

From launch until the Swarm split, Foursquare had badges you could earn all sorts of different way, some with levels of expertise (from 2x to 10x), some only available for brief periods of time (a particular day), some of which only at very specific venues.

Your old Foursquare Badges are accessible as an Easter Egg inside the Swarm app in "Memory Lane":

(These are likely only a subset of the many badges that were available; uploaded by Tantek Çelik)


On/Around 2014-05-01 Foursquare split much of its checkin functionality off into Swarm to focus more on locations, forseeably in an effort to better compete with Yelp. Checkins via the Swarm app created their own data, while much of it was also mirrored within the Foursquare site.

Prior Efforts

Before Foursquare, there was Dodgeball, which also offered a similar check-in service, and was co-founded by one of the same people that started Foursquare.


  • "Digital platforms like Foursquare are producing "a harmonization of tastes."" [2]


Foursquare only occasionally suffers from outages. E.g.



  • CEO Jeff Glueck discusses privacy on the Foursquare platform [3]

See Also