Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has been in the process of implementing changes recently, like the addition of the Graph Search feature, which is still being rolled out to users. Also the News Feed changed a bit, and that change is also still being rolled out. But what many Facebook users don’t know is just how much their privacy is at risk now, thanks to the social media giant’s new Graph Search feature.
After our recent coverage, ValueWalk was contacted by a spokesperson for secure.me, a company which handles privacy and online reputation protection for Facebook users. Marina Ziegler said that the biggest issue for users of the site is the fact that the company keeps changing its privacy controls. She said that although the only direct change that’s happened recently with Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s privacy controls is their positioning, the new Graph Search feature is opening up a whole new can of worms for users.
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“For example, you may not always update your status, but you may comment on your friends’ status updates,” Ziegler said. “If your friend writes something about the weather and you add comments to their post, it no longer depends on your own privacy settings, but also on the friend’s privacy settings.”
According to Ziegler, this issue has been the case for a while, but the addition of the Graph Search feature is bringing it to the forefront. She said that by making Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) more searchable, the social media site has actually made it easier for companies, potential bosses and just about anyone else to discover information about users – simply by doing a search on Facebook. Thus, she said it’s more important than ever before to watch what you post on the social media site.
A new study published by the University of Cambridge indicates that scientists can actually determine details like users’ political views, smoking habits, sexual orientation, IQ and religion—just by looking at the posts they “like” on Facebook. In fact, they can do this with a 95 percent rate of accuracy. Secure.me looks at the shocking study more in depth on its blog.
Another area users need to be concerned about is the apps they use on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). Most apps collect the users’ data and even the data of their friends. She said secure.me conducted a study of more than half a million apps on Facebook and found that about 21 percent of all apps on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can access not only the user’s own personal data, but also that of his or her friends. In addition, not all apps act the same or even access the same information, which just makes privacy an even bigger question mark for users of the site.
“The longer you share information and use apps, the more your profile becomes exposed to those apps,” Ziegler said.
Secure.me helps users protect their privacy and monitor their online reputation. The service can show users how to increase their privacy and warn them about possible threats to their online reputation, like if a friend posts something that wouldn’t look too good to a potential employer.
It’s free to sign up for secure.me right now, and they are rolling out a premium service in some parts of the world right now. They also operate App Advisor, which is designed to help users manage the privacy settings on their apps. The service tells users how much data an app can access and how much it is able to share.