Is Facebook sharing your personal information?
It's generally thought that Facebook paranoia -- the persistent worry that Facebook might be selling, sharing or otherwise monkeying with your personal information -- basically follows the shape of a bell curve. Older generations don't tend to worry about it because they're not always entirely familiar with the technology, while younger people either don't understand the risks or don't care.
For those of us in the middle, privacy can be a major Internet concern. And for something as widespread, popular and socially important as Facebook, those questions can lead us to a lot of interesting places. We don't want to be marketed to, we don't want to get hit with spam from third-party sources, and, most of all, we don't want our private social circles and experiences to feel like they're being monetized or subjected to surveillance outside our control. After all, that would negate the purpose of a site like Facebook.
Most of us understand that the Internet only has the information that we provide it: "Think before you click" is a common warning for all users, regardless of age. But for a site like Facebook, that can get complicated: After all, everything about the experience of using Facebook tells you that you should be adding more information, whether it's to connect with more people, find old friends or simply represent yourself more fully in the Facebook community. And each bit of this information is a choice that you make, meaning that you're the one with the power.
But the worries persist, and no matter how much you know about Facebook and how it works, you can still get that old paranoia in the back of your head. Whether it's the latest hacker controversy or rumors of behind-the-scenes deals being made, it always seems like there's something to be concerned about. Let's take a look at the different ways Facebook collects and shares information, as well as what you can do to take that power back.