Facebook Users Reveal Too Much, Consumer Reports Says

May 7, 2012

Are Facebook’s 150 million American users revealing too much — and are you one of them?

According to a recent study by Consumer Reports of more than 1,300 households who use Facebook, many Facebook users do not use privacy settings and reveal too much about their day-to-day plans that could be putting themselves and their information at risk.

According to the study, researchers project that 4.8 million people have used Facebook to reveal their plans on a certain day, which could serve as a tip-off to burglars. 

The report also projected that nearly 13 million Facebook users never set any privacy controls on their Facebook account or were not even aware about privacy controls. Twenty-eight percent of users share all or nearly all of their wall posts with everyone, besides just their connected friends. 

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports says that reported problems are increasing with 11 percent who say that they had trouble with their Facebook account last year, such as with someone using their log-in information without permission or from being harassed or threatened on Facebook. 

Consumer Reports warns that Facebook collects more information about you than you may even know about. “For example, did you know that Facebook gets a report every time you visit a site with a Facebook ‘Like’ button, even if you never click the button, are not a Facebook user, or are not logged in?” the article notes.

Also, the article notes that “even if you have restricted your information to be seen by friends only, a friend who is using a Facebook app could allow your data to be transferred to a third party without your knowledge.”

The article offers some tips for better protecting yourself on Facebook, such as: 

  • See what’s out there: Every month see how your page looks to others and see if you need to add any more privacy settings to your page. 
  • Review your wall settings: Keep security settings for your wall posts viewable to just friends. 
  • Watch the apps: “Unless you intercede, friends can share personal information about you with apps. To block that, use controls to limit the info apps can see,” the article notes.

Source: “Facebook and Your Privacy,” Consumer Reports (June 2012)

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