This is the first post in our Social Networking series.
My guess is that you would not simply give a person that knocked on your front door or approached you in the street most of the data Facebook collects in your profile. Facebook profile data consists of many things, including your birth date, email, physical address, current location, work history, education history and additional information you input for activities, interests and music (interestingly much of this can be used for identity theft…) In addition to your profile data, any installed or authenticated Facebook applications have access to your wall posts and list of friends as well as any other data that is shared with “Everyone”.
As Facebook adds new features, the data included in your face book profile has probably crept to include other data of uploaded pictures, application usage and history, tags in posts or pictures. Facebook will always be looking for ways to collect more of your data as YOU are their product. Your data, data of friends and data of everyone else on Facebook is where Facebook collects their profit and, as with most businesses, profits need to increase through expanding markets and giving access to their product.
The data collected by Facebook on you can also include cookie tracking by Facebook even when you are not explicitly on their website. Facebook heard much uproar from the user community when a security researcher in September 2011 [link] discovered Facebook was even tracking users that had gone as far as deactivating their accounts! Facebook could then track all web history even through web sites that are not related to Facebook activities in any way.
You do have the ability to limit data on Facebook and make sound decisions on what personal data you do decide to submit to Facebook (friends are another matter). Inherently by using Facebook for the ‘free’ services, you are going to lose some control of your information you share with friends. There are a few important factors that you should think about in dealing with social media and my next post will shine some light on who actually owns and regulates your data within Facebook; stayed tuned and feed back is always welcome.