How to manage privacy on Facebook

I originally started out using Xing (formerly OpenBC) and LinkedIn for social networking and only recently added Facebook into the mix. Initially I thought Facebook, just like MySpace would be geared mostly towards personal contacts rather than professional networking, but as it turns out the same amount, if not more, of my professional contacts are maintaining a presence at Facebook, several of them not even listed at either one of the two more business-oriented sites listed above.

Just today a colleague of mine skyped me to let me know that she’d take me off her friends at Facebook in an effort to keep personal and professional networking separate, since she did not want too many friends of friends knowing about the mundane things in her life. While we were tossing privacy concerns back and forth, she then came upon two links providing helpful information on how to obtain more granular control over your privacy at Facebook than is afforded with the rather limited number of default options available.

Now, if I only could convince Facebook to retain the friends list assignments I am making, instead of forgetting them within minutes without any rhyme or reason to it as to for which users it keeps them and for whom not …

Yahoo’s Web Beacons

As most of you likely are aware, a lot of websites are using cookies not only for your convenience but also for tracking purposes. Yahoo has gone a step further by adding so-called web beacons into the mix, which also track your browsing habits at other sites and lead to targeted advertising (in addition to the apparent profiling).

At least there is an opt-out link more or less hidden on their website:

(this page describes their use of web beacons and features on opt-out link to the left of the page).

If you happen to use the Adblock Plus add-on for Firefox, as I do, you will have to define an exemption in order for the opt-out to work since Yahoo! uses a cookie for opting you out. Quite obviously a cookie-based opt-out also means that you will have to do this on every computer and every account you are using.