Facebook Privacy… I thought I’d share my personal-pseudo-professional take on the matter. I tend to lock my Facebook down like a vault. I even use “friend lists” to provision access to my info across different groups: family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. If I haven’t actually met you and had a conversation with you, don’t waste your time friending me. It’s really up to you to decide how much to share and with whom you share.
The startling thing is, orgs have been scraping personal Facebook info under the guise of listening. Kind of creeps me out companies would do this. That being said, I’m entirely open to using social graph information to measure influence. But don’t get me wrong… I have no desire to know your birthday or phone number or whom your relationship might be with ;-)
Best practices should advise folks to prohibit 3rd party apps from using your personal information. You should also restrict whom you let comment on your wall, photos, etc. It all comes down to how you use the tool. Are you still in college? Probably not the best idea to share pics of last night’s kegger, even if your security only allows friends to view. Once tagged, their friends might still be able to see you. If you share your birth date or other sensitive personal info, might be best to lock it down as tight as possible, or not post at all. If you wouldn’t post something on a public web page, then that should guide you here.
Here’s a handy couple of guides to help you determine how restrictive you wish to be on Facebook:
As for other social sites, LinkedIn offers similar (but not as extensive) controls, but if you’re using strictly for networking, use best judgment in sharing personal contact information. MySpace (who really uses MySpace anymore???)… once had privacy controls, but it’s been years since I’ve had an account, so can’t say for sure. Twitter and YouTube are similar in that users would have to explicitly share personal information that neither site requires.
Lastly, read this article from MediaPost. It’s a good intro to new internet company Social Intelligence which is attempting to build a business model around archiving your info for up to 7 years. Seems they want to be a clearinghouse for all sorts of investigations… legitimate or not, scary for sure.