The “blue and white” Facebook logo is arguably the most familiar graphic in today’s cyberspace. Almost one out of every nine people in the world has an active Facebook account. This social media giant definitely makes the world smaller place, but not without seriously compromising the user’s security and privacy.
Over 665 million users worldwide log into their accounts on a regular basis, writing statuses and sharing private information. But many are unaware about how much of their personal data is harvested just by logging into the website and using the various available features.
Many Facebook users have second thoughts about what they write and delete their half-typed sentences. Millions of unposted letters and numbers are typed on Facebook regularly. Facebook now can track every single character you type on your keyboard, posted or not.
Facebook data scientists have worrying levels of access to your accounts. In a recent study performed for the social network, data scientist Adam Kramer and Sauvik Das studied the profiles of no less than 3.7 million users. They succeeded in this task with alarming ease simply by tracking the HTML form element in each webpage.
This HTML coded element is linked to all relevant character fields in the website, namely search boxes and status update fields. Every character typed by a Facebook user changes the HTML code, exposing him to the data scientists. The malicious technique can also be adopted by hackers, making this major security concern.
The above-mentioned “Self-Censorship on Facebook” study went on for 17 days. Kramer and Das exposed many habits of Facebook users. Surprisingly, male users self-censored more posts than females. There was more equality while censoring comments. Also, virtually all users employed last-minute self-censorship.
It’s important to stress that Facebook cannot read your unpublished data as of yet. It just tracks the amount of characters and words you input in the various fields and stores it as metadata on its servers. This helps the social networking giant to establish user-based data such as peak usage time and other behavioral patterns.
Facebook’s deliberate snooping and data mining isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Recent reports have also suggested that Facebook is now working on new tracking technologies to learn more about people’s usage behavior. This includes studying mouse hovering movements and cell-phone newsfeed patterns.
Privacy in social media networking has become an afterthought. It’s now up to the public to decide if they are willing to pay such a steep price just to stay connected.
Source – Self-Censorship On Facebook
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