Who sees the data you share on Facebook?
If you’re reading this article, chances are good you have a page on Facebook, too. More than 150 million Americans already use the site, and the number grows daily because Facebook makes it so easy to keep up with friends, family, and colleagues, discover great content, connect to causes, share photos, drum up business, and learn about fun events.
To deliver this service, Facebook and other social networks collect enormous amounts of highly sensitive information—and distribute it more quickly and widely than traditional consumer data-gathering firms ever could. That’s great when it helps you find old classmates or see ads for things you actually want to buy. But how much information is really being collected about you? How is it being used? And could it fall into the wrong hands?
To find out, we queried Facebook and interviewed some two dozen others, including security experts, privacy lawyers, app developers, and victims of security and privacy abuse. We dug into private, academic, and government research, as well as Facebook’s labyrinthian policies and controls. And we surveyed 2,002 online households, including 1,340 that are active on Facebook, for our annual State of the Net report. We then projected those data to estimate national totals.
The picture that emerges has bright spots but also many causes for concern, including the following:
Some people are sharing too much. Our projections suggest that 4.8 million people have used Facebook to say where they planned to go on a certain day (a potential tip-off for burglars) and that 4.7 million “liked” a Facebook page about health conditions or treatments (details an insurer might use against you).
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Category: World News |