News is out today that several of Facebook’s popular applications are sending users’ data to advertisers and Internet tracking companies outside of the social networking site’s boundaries. A capsule of the story is online here, and Facebook is busy responding to the complaints unearthed during an investigation by The Wall Street Journal. The larger story about your online data is from a Journal series called “What They Know,” which features a look how companies are tracking our personal information and what they’re doing with it.
The Journal’s stories looked at the practice of scraping data from online sites, the extensive online tracking going on at children’s sites and the advertising dollars that fuel it, and more. The entire report is worth checking out on the Jounral’s “What They Know” page, complete with stories, photos and videos.
Back to the Facebook debacle, it’s telling what Jim Adler, chief privacy officer of Intelius, Inc., a leading paid people-search website, told The Wall Street Journal reporters in one of the series’ stories, on scraping.
“Social networks are becoming the new public records,” he said.
These stories confirm yet again that none of us can lead a true private life online, even though many of us use Facebook to connect with friends on a personal level. It’s still up to you how much you share, where you click and whether you care that an advertiser knows your likes and dislikes. The online world is fun and vibrant, but it’s good to be reminded to be aware.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (email@example.com)