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Facebook iPhone app will soon let you check in to events as well as places

Facebook is adding a new feature to its iPhone app, letting people check in to specific events -- gigs, parties, royal weddings -- rather than just locations. The update will soon be live.

Facebook for the iPhone has had the Facebook Places feature for a while now, thumbing its nose at Foursquare by letting you tell your actual friends and family what you're up to via check-ins, rather than just fellow geeks. Now the feature is set for expansion from places to events.

It's apparently available now in the 'touch' version of Facebook, which works in iPhone's Safari browser (as well as on Android smart phones), but a spokesperson for the social network tells Inside Facebook: "We're currently testing this and it will be available with the next iPhone release."

Event check-ins will only be possible on the day of the actual event, if you're in the vicinity of where it's being held. In other words, no cheating. That said, it's still unclear whether these check-ins will only work for events created by you and your friends, or whether they'll be applied to bigger ones.

You can imagine checking in to the Glastonbury festival, the FA Cup final or the royal wedding, for example. The feature might also be used for, say, smaller gigs by bands or singers, even tied into a reward scheme for the most loyal live fans. Rather than updating your status saying you're at The O2, you'll be able to say you're at the Justin Bieber gig.

(We cite that as a purely notional, and frankly rather horrifying example.)

Facebook has been steadily improving the location aspects of its iPhone app in recent months. Facebook Places has been live since last year, but the new thing is Facebook Deals, which offers discounts and offers based on your current location. Event check-ins could tie in to that as well, in time.