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Changes to Facebook Present Further Privacy Risks

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I have written here before about how indiscretion on the Internet, especially on social networks like Facebook, can lead to trouble.  What goes on the 'net stays on the 'net . . . forever!  Facebook is constantly facing criticism from privacy advocates on its policies and features, and recent changes about to be unveiled are no different.  Here are two of them you should be careful about.

Timeline

To date, Facebook has been an endless, in-the-moment stream of information in your feed with a rather static profile page with information that often reads like a resume.  If you wanted to reconstruct a person's past, you had to review diverse content on various tabs.  Now, all of that information will be reorganized and presented as a scrapbook, with information about you annotated and punctuated with pictures and video.  This is available to anyone with whom you share it (have you looked at your privacy settings lately?) along with Facebook itself.  Who are they sharing it with?  When this feature goes live, you should revisit your privacy settings and be careful about how you set them.  Otherwise, your life could be quite literally an open book.

Offline Tracking

Privacy advocates and hackers have also pointed out that the new Facebook could easily track where you go, and share it on its site, even when you are logged off on Facebook!  Facebook puts tracking cookies on your site that can be accessed by other web sites that have those ubiquitous Facebook "Like" buttons that are used for link sharing.  If you click on the button voluntarily, that is one thing.  But Facebook's "Open Graph" apps can report where you are going on the Net in real time!  Short of using a separate browser just for Facebook, there may not be a lot you can do, but more info should come to light once this feature launches.

Many people do not participate in Facebook because of privacy concerns.  Others, like me, participate, but are very careful what we post.  However, there are many users out there, especially the younger set who grew up with this technology, that share indiscriminately with no real appreciation of the consequences down the road.  This can be an issue for parents in monitoring their children's online activityas well as for the older set.  Be careful what you post.  It's dangerous out there!

 

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