How well do you trust Facebook?

Facebook may seem free, but its cost comes in the form of giving up control of your personal information.

Facebook demonstrated how much power it had over its users two weeks ago when it announced its new data-sharing policy, Open Graph.

Unless you’ve updated your privacy settings in the past two weeks, Facebook has started sharing information on your Facebook profile with its partner websites, which use the data to personalize your Web experience when you visit their websites.  Some of these partners include Pandora, Microsoft, Yelp and CNN.

Facebook has enabled you to opt out of the program, but not until after it automatically opted everyone in without permission.

According to Mashable.com, the new policy only allows Facebook to share your information with companies for the purpose of enhancing your experience when you visit them, and to make it easier for companies to target specific customers with ads along the sidebar.

“On one hand, having your web experience customized to your tastes, interests and relationships is appealing.  On the other, it’s going to be hard to keep track of all of the personal data you’ll be publishing to the graph for all to see — and there might be some opportunities for abuse by less scrupulous companies.”

Facebook’s new policy prompted Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.),  Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) last week to request that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) create guidelines for how social networking websites can use user information.

How to opt out of Facebook’s Open Graph

Opting out of Facebook’s new data-sharing program is simple, but a little tricky to find.

Click Accout => Privacy Settings => Applications and Websites => Edit Settings

Finally, uncheck the box next to the statement: “Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites.”

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