Chapter 13. Playing It Safe: Facebook Privacy

Social networking sites like Facebook depend on millions of people voluntarily divulging accurate personal information. But in a world where identity theft is a growing concern and spammers can’t wait to get their hands on your email address, how do you take advantage of what Facebook has to offer while minimizing risks to your personal info? This chapter explains Facebook’s privacy issues, and then gives you strategies for staying safe—from up-front planning to adjusting Facebook’s privacy settings to after-the-fact damage control.

Privacy and Facebook: An Overview

If you’re connected to the Internet, privacy is a concern. Surf the Web—privacy risk. Use email—privacy risk. The sad truth is that there are a lot of bad guys out there, and your personal info is worth a lot of money to some of them. Even virus-protection programs and firewalls can’t always keep bad things from happening to you. And while Facebook promises to do all it can to protect the personal data you add to your profile, mistakes happen.


To read Facebook’s privacy policy, point your web browser to

If you’re like most people, your personal info is already stored in lots of databases (your bank’s, your favorite magazine’s, and so on). But what’s unique about Facebook’s cache of personal data is that it includes intimate details (like your views on politics, religion, and relationships), and that it’s tied to a picture of you (your profile ...

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