Web Privacy Concerns Prompt Facebook Changes

Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to share personal information with friends. Amid privacy concerns, the site has unveiled new features to help users manage their online information. Courtesy Facebook hide caption

See a sample Facebook profile
itoggle caption Courtesy Facebook

Read an Excerpt From Facebook: The Missing Manual

(Requires Adobe Acrobat.)

Does it sometimes seem like the Web sites you visit know a little too much about you? While many users say they want more privacy on the Web, they are still likely to reveal data about themselves and their habits online.

One company at the forefront of the privacy issue is the social networking site Facebook. It houses the photos, contact details and personal information of more than 60 million active users ¿ and it continues to grow. The site claims an average of 250,000 new registrations per day.

Amid concerns about privacy, the site recently unveiled new features that give users more control over who can see their information. The new features allow users to group friends into different categories and then determine which of those groups can access information on their profiles.

It also introduces a "Friends of Friends" option with which users may make privacy exceptions for people connected to them through friends.

Emily Vander Veer, author of Facebook: The Missing Manual, weighs in on how to maintain an active Facebook profile without losing control of your personal data.

But privacy issues on the Web are encountered not just on social networking sites such as Facebook. They are just about everywhere.

Daniel Weitzner, policy director at the World Wide Web Consortium, and Alessandro Acquisiti, co-editor of Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices, talk about ways to keep your personal life under wraps in the digital age.

Books Featured In This Story

Facebook

The Missing Manual

by E. A. Vander Veer

Paperback, 268 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Facebook
Subtitle
The Missing Manual
Author
E. A. Vander Veer

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.