Saturday, September 3, 2011

Feeling unsafe on Facebook? Here's what to do

Are you worried that your friend will reshare all your Facebook private details to the world? Well, then dump the least discreet members of your social network and feel secure.

Pritam Gundecha at Arizona State University in Tempe had a technique for working out which friends are most likely to leak private informationso you can remove them, if you choose.

Gundecha examined the relative importance of data 2 million Facebook users elect to share with the world and calculated the privacy risks friends pose to each other.

For example, around 80 per cent of users are happy to disclose their gender, but less than 1 per cent share their home address. That suggested that the people publicising their address aren't particularly privacy-conscious and you might want to avoid them.

Using these statistics, the researchers gave each user a vulnerability score and worked out which friends will cause your vulnerability score to go down should you unfriend them.

It turns out that unfriending the least discreet friend increases your security by an average of more than 5 per cent - worth it for a casual acquaintance, but perhaps not so easy if your best buddy is a blabbermouth.

"There are some friends you cannot remove, irrespective of their vulnerability," New Scientists quoted Gundecha as saying.

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