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How do I maintain my privacy on the Internet?

Facebook is used by millions of people worldwide to share information. That information could be anything from the latest family photos, personal interests or status updates. It's quick and easy and allows people to keep up with the lives of friends and families without necessarily keeping in constant contact with them. The problem with this is that the information being shared online is often available to anyone at anytime, and once something is posted onto the Internet, it can very difficult to have it permanently removed.

Internet PrivacyThis may not necessarily be a bad thing, depending on what you choose to share over the Internet. Most people probably wouldn't care too much if everyone had access to the latest pictures of their new puppy. However, having a potential employer seeing embarrassing videos from a recent spring break trip that was spent drinking too much, might not be very helpful to the chances of employment. You also may not want the whole world to know your telephone number or advertisers to use your information to target ads at you.

As popular as Facebook is, it has come under constant criticism for their privacy policies. Facebook wants to share all of your private information with advertisers and developers. One of the latest plans Facebook has had included sharing phone numbers and current addresses with third party developers.

All of this highlights the importance of being careful about what you post on Facebook or anywhere on the Internet. Even if you have all of your privacy settings on Facebook set to keep things restricted to "Friends Only", there is nothing to stop one of those "friends" on the list from re-posting it to the world. It becomes an even more important issue when many people on a friend's list are not actual friends, but people that have been added for Facebook games or some other purpose. Additionally, there's always the possibility of hackers taking over someone's account, whether it is a friend's account or your own. Anything posted on a hacked account is then easily accessible to the hacker.

Does all of this mean that everyone should just cancel all of their Facebook and Twitter accounts? No, but people should be aware that anything they post onto the Internet can potentially be seen by anyone, and if you don't want everyone to know something or see something, then you shouldn't post it onto the Internet.

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