As a general rule, use caution when using third-party applications.Remember that it is difficult to control what information they are gathering, how they might use it, and who they will share it with.There are several concerns regarding behavioral advertising: Within the context of social networking, “third-party applications” are programs that interact with a social network without actually being part of that social network.These applications take many forms but some typical and popular forms include: Some social networks allow program developers to access their platforms in order to create these applications.Information leakage also occurs in mobile online social networks, according to Privacy Leakage in Mobile Online Networks, another study by Krishnamurthy and Wills.To learn more about cookies and how to browse the Internet safely and privately, see PRC Fact Sheet 18: Privacy and the Internet.
A user may grant a third-party application access to his or her profile without realizing the extent of the permissions being granted.
This means that advertisers and others are able to use information gleaned from social networks to build a profile of a user’s life, including linking browsing habits to one’s true identity.
Read Krishnamurth and Will's 2009 study On the Leakage of Personally Identifiable Information Via Online Social Neworks.
The information you share with your online contacts allows you to keep in touch without much effort. Social networks store information remotely, rather than on a user’s personal computer.
Social networking can be used to keep in touch with friends, make new contacts and find people with similar interests and ideas.