Eduardo Porter of the New York Times:
A few months ago, I nervously created my first Facebook page with the minimum necessary information to view pictures posted by old friends.
I returned to the page a few days later to discover that somehow it had found out both the name of my college and my graduation class, displaying them under my name. I have not returned since. In the back of my mind, I fear a 28-year-old hacker and a couple of Russians have gathered two more facts about me that I would rather they didn’t have. And it’s way too late to take my life offline.
There is no doubt that Facebook knows a lot about you. Me too, and I’ve only been on it a few weeks.
I’ve spent my time configuring my profile with an eye to keep my friends protected – plenty of lists with different access rights, for business and pleasure, and I’ve taken to ignoring most apps (with particular emphasis on polls and the like). While it is but simple diligence, I’m pretty sure it will do the trick just fine for “marketing threats.” But only time will tell. If you are still running around the web like a chicken with its head cut off, you might also want to bookmark this free educational resource from Verisign on how to stay safe on the web. There’s a hefty section on social networks within.
As for Facebook itself having all that data at its disposal, well that is the price you pay. But you never know when someone might cook up a solution for that too.