Online privacy: What they know…just so you know

The Wall Street Journal series, “What They Know – Digital Privacy,” has been examining the information that is being shared through social networking sites, such as Facebook, and many others, without your knowledge.

Today’s article explained how many of the applications on Facebook have been transmitting users’ identifying information to Internet tracking and ad companies. Violators include some of the most popular FB past times – Zynga Game Network Inc.’s FarmVille, with 59 million users, Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 applications, including FarmVille, have been transmitting personal information about a user’s friends to outside companies, the WSJ story said.

Inside Facebook, provider of news and market research on Facebook and social gaming, was quick to point out that Facebook wasn’t the only one sharing data that users believed was private. “Public Facebook Information is part of a Larger Online Data Gray Market.

The bottom line: Assume that all of your activities on Facebook, or nearly any website that you visit, are tracked, recorded and shared. The tracking can make the ads you see more targeted (perhaps even useful). The tracking can also record your every keystroke and be used in ways you never intended.

Susan Maus is a baseball fan. She's a homer for Target Field and writes about the ballparks she visits.