Facebook’s Instant Personalization too personal

By JOE CERVONE

When it comes to protecting one’s privacy on the Internet, it is generally agreed that a person can never be too careful. All too often employers, teachers and parents warn us about the dangers of sharing personal content on the Internet. After all, we are reminded that once we post, submit or send content it can never truly be deleted.

Today, the ever-popular social media website Facebook is launching its newest feature “Instant Personalization” to all members that are logged on to the site.

According to Facebook:

“Just as your News Feed on Facebook is built uniquely for you, instant personalization sites let you easily bring your friends and interests with you.”

“Partners adhere to Facebook’s guidelines and may only use your public information to serve you a personalized experience. Public information includes your name, profile picture, gender, networks, and other information shared with everyone.”

In so many words, Facebook is launching a feature that will share any personal information that you have set to “Everyone,” meaning information that is available for everyone on Facebook to see, and distributing it to third party websites that include Bing, TripAdvisor, Rotten Tomatoes, Yelp and Pandora.

While intended as a means to further connect people on websites for music, film and culture, this new feature allows Facebook to distribute account information that you may not want shared. The most ominous aspect of “Instant Personalization,” is the fact that the feature is automatically turned on. That means your account and information have been opted in without you ever providing actual consent.

In order to turn off “Instant Personalization” on your Facebook account:

1. Go to “Account” and then “Privacy Settings.”

2. Scroll down to “Apps and Websites” and click on “Edit your settings”

3. Scroll down to “Instant Personalization” and click “Edit settings”

4. On the bottom of the page there is box checked for “Enable instant personalization on partner websites.” Uncheck the box to turn off the feature.

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