Consumer Reports released a recent study revealing the public’s ever-increasing concern for privacy on social networks. The results of the study fall into the categories of “oversharing, underuse of privacy controls, Facebook’s over-collection of data, and cyberbullying and harassment.” Some of these issues however, remain the faults of the users of social networking sites like Facebook. For example, the report suggested that a potential burglar could find “tip-off” information on a user’s page as to whether or not he or she would be home that day, as many users tend to post their daily schedules as status updates. However, Facebook has a privacy setting that allows only one’s “friends” to see his or her status updates, but apparently 10-15% of Facebook users have this setting set to “public.” Then of course, this idea that “Facebook causes burglaries” is only an inkling, as the study was unable to prove whether or not this actually happens…
Furthermore, it appears 10% of users still are not aware of or have not bothered to change their privacy settings… yet that means that 90% of of Facebook users do actually pay the slightest bit of attention to a site that they pour such massive amounts of personal information into… well at least it’s a large majority.
Yes though, Facebook does collect massive amounts of information about its users through behavioral tracking, using cookies to store our activity both on and sometimes even off of the social network.
It does remain true that social networking sites have the ability to greatly limit our privacy, or perhaps they have altered its definition… but for the most part, it is up to the users of these sites to protect themselves. C’mon people “downward-pointing arrow in top right of homepage, privacy settings”… (if you care) it’s not that difficult.
Thankfully tech blogger Jeff Jarvis has a better perspective on this issue, marking the Consumer Report’s study as “fear-mongering”.
Don’t be this guy =>