I just read an article from the CBS Interactive Business Network about a new problem that social networking sites like Facebook are having – users of these sites are becoming more protective of their personal information. Reading this article made me grateful that such sites give users some control over what information can be shared. The article cites study data from Northwestern University and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Study researchers provided some interesting insights into user behavior:
Overall, our data show that far from being nonchalant and unconcerned about privacy matters, the majority of young adult users of Facebook are engaged with managing their privacy settings on the site at least to some extent. The frequency with which they adjust their settings and their confidence in doing so may vary, but most report modifying their settings.
Of course, you should never share personal information that you couldn’t afford to lose, such as your Social Security number. It’s also wise to not share information typically used in security questions, such as birthdates, mother’s maiden name, address, elementary schools, pet names, and so forth. Read ProtectMyID.com’s recent news release for more tips to protect your online identity.
Also, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the privacy policies of whatever social networking sites you frequent. I know they can be long and arduous to read, but you may be surprised if you do. Keep abreast of how you can protect your personal data before posting it for the world to see, and more importantly, for thieves to access. A few simple steps could end up saving you hours of hassle.