Many U.S. Facebook users leave themselves open to having their information stolen and houses (not the ones on Farmville) broken into, according to a new study by Consumer Reports. It looked only at Facebook, since that is by far the largest social networking site.
Personal Information is Exposed and Harvested
Many U.S. Facebook users are apparently unaware of how much personal information they are sharing with the world, possibly including their employers, insurance companies, burglers and governments. For example:
- More than half of U.S. Facebook users don't customize their privacy settings to prevent their friends' app from collecting their own information
- Over 20 million show their birthdate and year; information that can be used to steal your identity.
You are Being Watched
The report raises some other concerns. Account hacking, threats and harassment are up 30%. And many Facebook users post their whereabouts and vacation plans, leaving themselves wide open to stalkers and burglers.
The report also discusses how Facebook tracks your web browsing by getting a report about you every time you visit a web page that has a "Like" button, whether or not you click it.
What You Can Do
The good news is that by spending just a few minutes and doing a few simple things, you can protect your self much better on Facebook. You can find the online article about the report here. It offers nine steps you can take, like customizing your privacy settings and thinking before you type.