Facebook is a free network. They do not charge a single $ for your login.Everyone is allowed to use all the features without any preference for the other . You can even use it to promote your blog or your website. Facebook allows you to do it all for free, without even asking you to fill up any feedback or survey forms.
So how does Facebook make money? Like every enterprise Facebook needs to make money to pay its bills. So, what is the product that Facebook sells? The things that its users shares and it collects. . Whatever users do, like, write, search is analysed by Facebook and then used to create useful segments for its advertisers( no where I am suggesting that it provides personally identifiable data).
I am not that much scared by sharing of the data, by Facebook . It might be provided to the advertisers but it would be done with a lot of caring. It is property of Facebook and normally companies are very competitive and secretive about their properties.
I am more worried about a sinister thing. All the social network tracking along with ad tracking that goes on behind your back. People who are do not know about internet technologies that much( I am sure even geeks are not that much aware ) are falling in the trap. I am worried because at Facebook and other network you have some control over your privacy but with tracking you have none. A tech site that I recently looked at tracked me in following ways.
In a last few days I have been tracked (and now successfully blocked) by advertisers more than 5000 times. But I am wondering how much I was tracked before. I knew that most of the sites that I visit have analytical code to track for example where I am from, my browser type and many other things. But the data probably cannot be globally used to identify what I do or who I am .
There are so many ways to track users : I found an excellent article here that how your online activities ( browsing sites, listening to music, searching ) can be tracked by thousands of companies http://www.abine.com/tracking.php
In this picture social network is prodding me to like the post. It already knows I am here and viewing the content. It is personally identifiable information and though it remains with the social network still strongly identifies me. It is a serious invasion of privacy. Why I am more worried about Facebook? Because it is everywhere ( even on my blog ).
But I have found the savior which can protect me from many threats. Its called as TACO, its a very handy add on to Firefox and blocks a lot of things. You can customize it to suit your needs for every site that you visit. It is really very simple.
Living with social media is a reality and frankly we cannot do much without it but allowing it to profile us based on what we share is quite troublesome.
What do you feel about privacy threats to yourself? What steps you take to avoid them?