How much do you trust your Facebook friends?

I’m not a huge fan of the “Facebook is evil” posts that get tossed around when Facebook makes changes that rile everyone up (Beacon, News Feed, etc), but I just discovered one bit of info that I feel I should share. Facebook has a loophole where even if you opt out of sharing your information, your friends can share a lot of YOUR personal info via Facebook applications or other websites.

This feels like Facebook is telling me, “We see that you don’t want to share your personal info to friends & users outside your networks. BUT we still want to give it to our developers and partner, which pay us the big bucks. So, we’ll ask your friends to supply this information, under the guise of “making the experience more social“.

To change what your friends can share, click on Account in upper right hand corner. Select Privacy Settings. Click “Applications and Websites” and select “Edit Settings” button across from “What your friends can share about you”. (Or use this link). I unchecked all the boxes (see the default, below), but encourage you to do what seems appropriate for you.

People who are unhappy with Facebook’s track record of openness are starting a “Quit Facebook Day” on May 31st. I’m not advocating for a mass exodus, but am also starting to wonder about how the benefits of using Facebook are changing. In the past couple months, Facebook has loopholed around my personal privacy preferences, un-personalized my own Likes & Interests (which really ticked me off), and become even less transparent while advocating openness from their users. I’m considering what to do with my personal Facebook profile, though I’ll never leave the site completely because of my job. As long as I’m on Facebook, I’ll be dedicating as much time within “Privacy Settings” as I do checking out my friends’ photo galleries from weddings!

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