What is Your Privacy Worth on Facebook?

Posted 2 years ago

Self PortraitCody Helscel
Blog writer & Web developer

In today’s technical world, it’s easy for anyone to gather information about you. The more you use technology, the higher change your information is being gathered. What you do or say at your laptop, desktop or other devices can readily and easily often be seen publicly by others, especially when we look at how Facebook, or other social media networks, operate.

At more than 600 million active users, Facebook has become the biggest social networking Web site. People log into Facebook every day to update statuses, check updates, send messages and much more. If you’re not careful and keep your privacy settings at their default settings, you just might be sharing your status updates with the world.


We all know that Facebook collects data about us, but many of us think nothing of it. When we delete anything from Facebook, it’s still there… on Facebook’s server somewhere. In other words, the information we delete isn’t really erased. That information can still be retrieved. Yet people still make their most personal posts available to the public. Maybe we think it is work it, or maybe we don’t think anything of it because we don’t see it happening, but it is.

In addition to our data never really being erased, data mining has been a concern for many people. What you might not know is large companies, such as Google and Facebook, can and do trade information to other organizations. Most of which is used for advertising companies to learn about our behavior and gear marketing campaigns to reach us. Most of us, however, are unaware of the extent of these activities.

Nobody really knows how much information Facebook actually gathers from us. Maybe Facebook itself does, but I wouldn’t count on it. You know they gather information about you when they show you ads tailored to your Web browsing behavior and history.


Due to the many ways Facebook allows users to share information, cyberstalking and social engineering can often easily be done. We generally don’t take into account this idea, while we’re posting where we are going or what we’ve been doing.

Facebook does provide us with tools to manage our privacy settings, but the settings only go so far. What if you post a photo, then your friend shares it with his friends, maybe even tags it? People can still tag you in photos, making it public to their friends. Someone might also peek into a mutual friend’s timeline and find your friend-only information there. In other words, keeping your information private is not foolproof when posting to social networks.

Apparently our need to connect within a social network is greater than the need to protect our privacy online. Or we might disregard such information as thinking it won’t happen to us. In any case, we should be careful not to reveal too much. What is too much? You decide for yourself.

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