When the Ball Drops, Times Square Wants You to Check In on Facebook Places

Apparently the Times Square Alliance doesn’t buy local.

The Alliance, which coordinates the ball-dropping ceremony for New Year’s Eve, has essentially given free advertising space on a giant electronic billboard in the middle of Times Square to Facebook to the detriment of one of New York’s brightest companies.

The billboard is encouraging people to check in on Facebook Places, not its competitor and the darling of Silicon Alley, Foursquare.

According to Mashable, the Alliance is working with Facebook to encourage revelers to check in on New Year’s “just as a fun thing to do.”

Not cool, Times Square Alliance. Facebook Places may have seven times as many users as Foursquare, which most of the people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve probably have never heard of, but did you have to give free ad space to a $50 billion company?

ajeffries@observer.com | @adrjeffries