I just shared this with my extended family on our private forums and thought it would be useful to cross-post here:

You may have heard that Facebook’s default privacy settings are under scrutiny. It’s been discussed to death in the tech media the last few weeks. Among other things, Facebook is trying to make using your Facebook account through “unauthorized” third-party tools a criminal offense, and they’re having third parties insert their code onto non-Facebook websites to track users’ online habits. My takeaway was that I didn’t get enough value from Facebook to justify having a presence there. I’ve deactivated my account and will probably delete it soon; the only thing that’s holding me back is losing the http://www.facebook.com/alex.harden/ URL.

While I’m not recommending that any of you deactivate or delete your accounts, I would recommend that you check your privacy settings and “dial back” those settings that might be making your postings/photos/etc. available to people outside of those who you’re comfortable sharing with. Facebook has changed their default privacy settings several times since the days when “private” was default, and if one hadn’t changed from the defaults, their settings were gradually made more public. The best illustration I’ve seen of this is here: http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/.

If I were going to continue using Facebook, I would login only when I want to use the Facebook site and would then log out. This would prevent Facebook from collecting data from non-Facebook sites I visit without my expressed consent.

Sorry to get preachy, but I know many of you use Facebook and I wouldn’t want you to be caught offguard if your online activities are being observed more than you’d like!