In the age of lightning fast information and sharing one’s life on the Internet, social media users have to be careful of what they post. There are people out there waiting to get ahold of personal information to scam, sell something, or steal someone’s identity.

So the responsibility of protecting that information should be left up to the individual. But should social media websites have a part in protecting that information as well?

According to Facebook’s privacy policy “to serve personalized advertising to you,” Facebook doesn’t share anyone’s information to advertisers without that person’s consent.

But the next paragraph down, “to serve social ads,” they admit they use personal information in a different way.

“We occasionally pair advertisements we serve with relevant information we have about you and your friends to make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends.”
When users are on their Facebook home page, the right side is filled with many ads ranging from celebrity fan pages to ads for well known or lesser-known companies. Underneath the ad, a message will say at least one of your friends have “liked this.”
Peter Pasi, executive vice president at Emotive LLC, a firm that focuses on digital outreach for political campaigns, told Discovery News that Facebook has a lot of the consumers’ data.
“Facebook is the largest opt-in community of individuals in the world, and boasts unparalleled reach,” Pasi said. “In English, that means it’s likely the largest database of people ever built, and contains more personal data than any other source.”
But companies just want to sell users something or use “likes” as an approval rating so your friends will buy the product or service. But others who have access to personal information might have a more devious motive.

According to Forbes, people go on social media sites like Facebook and share too much of their information online. Forbes gives an example of a video that went viral to demonstrate the risks.

The video was of a “mind reader” for a show called Dave the Psychic. They chose the contestants at random from people on the streets and took them to a tent, according to Forbes. Dave would then hold the contestants’ hands to “feel their energy” and state some personal facts of their lives.

The experience turned out not to be so amazing. “Pretty fantastic, right? No, in reality, Dave was no psychic,” Forbes reports.

The whole time he had a team of people looking up the information on Facebook and other social media sites behind a curtain. As they found some information on the specific contestant they would tell Dave through an earpiece.

“Although the video was fun and intended as a public service announcement, the concept is alarming,” Forbes reports.

If Facebook is willing to protect you from racist, sexist, homophobic, or any kind of discrimination, then it should be willing to protect you from over-sharing information.

Ultimately users are responsible for what they share on the Internet and they shouldn’t be careless with the information you share. But Facebook shouldn’t be careless either.

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