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Monday, January 4, 2010

Protect Your Privacy On Facebook And Twitter Part – 2

If you didn’t read the 1st part of it you can read it here.

In my first part of Protect your privacy on facebook and twitter I tell you about taking care before sharing online & remember who’s your friends are. Next you have to recognize the visibility of your posts.

Recognize The Visibility of Your Posts

You’ve thought it through, an you want to shout to the world how you feel about having to work overtime and during a weekend that you had earmarked for recreational activities. You have checked and double checked, and you’ve determined that your boss is not your network, so you let loose on the keyboard and speak your mind.

         Unfortunately, you’re not home free (figuratively speaking) just yet. Being outside of your network, your boss can’t see your post directly, but if a Facebook friend who is connected with your boss comments on your status update--- even just to say “I sympathize”--- your boss may be able to click on the link through the friend and see your post.

          Go ahead, be social. Share your trials and tribulations with your growing network of adoring followers. But for your own safety, keep one essential rule in mind: Never post or tweet anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable having everyone you know see--- because eventually they probably will see it.

Define the Boundaries of Your Privacy

Marrying privacy and social networking may seem terribly unintuitive. How can you be social and open, yet protect your privacy? Well, just because you are choosing to share some information with a select group of people does not necessarily mean that you want to share everything with everyone, or that you are indifferent about whether the information you share is visible to all,
         Facebook, in particular, has drawn unwanted attention in connection with various privacy concerns. If you have used facebook for a while, you may have noticed advertisements that incorporate your friend’s names or photos associated with them.
       Facebook does provide privacy controls for you to customize the types of information available to third party applications. If you look at the Facebook Ads tab of the privacy controls, though, you’ll notice that it doesn’t give you any way to opt out of the internal Facebook Ads. Instead, it states (alarmingly) that “Facebook strives to create relevant and interesting advertisements to you and your friends.”

Approach Tattletale Quizzes With Caution

For many users, one of the primary attractions of Facebook is the virtually endless selection of games and quizzes. And part of their allure is their social aspect. In the games, you compete against your friends; through the quizzes, you learn more about them while being briefly entertained.
        The ACLU exposed problems with how much information these quizzes games share, however. Typically, when a Facebook user initiates a game or quiz, a notice pops up to declare that interacting with the application requires opening access to information; the notice also provides the user the opportunity to opt out and cancel, or to allow the access to continue.
           The permission page clearly informs the user up front that allowing “access will let [the application] pull your profile information, photos, your friends’ info, and other content that is requires to work.” Under the circumstances, you may wonder (as the ACLU has) why a game or quiz application would “require” access to your friends’ information in order to work.

Facebook Policy Concerns in Canada

Facebook’s privacy policies have run afoul of the Canadian government, too. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has determined those policies and practices violate Canadian privacy regulations, has recommended various changes Facebook should make to comply with them.
    One of the commissioner’s biggest concerns involves the permanence of accounts and account data. Facebook offers users a way to disable or deactivate an account, but it doesn’t seem to provide a method for completely deleting an account. Photos and status updates might be available long after a user has shut down a Facebook profile. And like the ACLU, the Canadian government is unhappy about the amount of user information that Facebook shares with third party application providers.

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