Over the last few years, Facebook has come under fire for privacy policies and settings that leave much to be desired. This has even led Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited for inventing the Internet, to encourage users to demand for their data from leading social networks, including Facebook.
If you create a profile on the site, then it's your responsibility to tweak your settings and protect the information that you've willingly posted on your profile. And if this is something that you're unaware of, then you might be one of an estimated 13 million users who haven't tweaked their Facebook settings to protect their privacy.
Facebook really is changing the way the world socially communicates and has become a successful service in part by leveraging copious amounts of personal data that can be spread far wider than its users might realize.
Our investigation revealed some fascinating, and some disquieting trends – but ones always worth knowing for consumers who wish to keep their personal data under better control.
-- Jeff Fox, Consumer Reports Technology Editor
Data extrapolated from a study conducted by Consumer Reports estimated that 7.69 percent of the 901 million or so active monthly users on Facebook are unaware of the privacy risks of using Facebook. Here's a quick run-through of the other conclusions that Consumer Reports made fro their investigation:
- Only 37 percent of users customized privacy settings for authorized apps
- 4.8 million users would reveal where they would be going on a certain day (where they unknowingly alert burglars, kidnappers, and stalkers about their whereabouts)
- 4.7 million users have "liked" Facebook pages on certain health conditions and treatments (which is information that health insurance companies can use)
- 39.3 million identified a family member in their profile
- 20.4 million included their birth date and year in their profile
- 4.6 million discussed their love life on their wall
- 2.6 million discussed their recreational use of alcohol on their wall
- 2.3 million Liked a Page regarding sexual orientation
If you haven't already, take five minutes to go over your Facebook privacy settings to protect your identity and safeguard your personal information.
Article by Hazel Chua
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