Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Be­ware of over­shar­ing

MY FACE­BOOK friends are an ed­u­cated and dis­cern­ing bunch for the most part, but boy do they do read a lot of rub­bish on­line.

I know this be­cause a lot of them have in­stalled so­cial reader apps on Face­book, which au­to­mat­i­cally share with their friends the sto­ries that they are read­ing on on­line news sites that have the app en­abled.

Sur­pris­ingly, my friends read about the Kar­dashi­ans, why they’re hav­ing bad sex, and the foods most likely to pro­duce a heart at­tack.

Em­bar­rass­ing, right? Would you want ev­ery one of your friends to know what you are read­ing on­line? Me nei­ther.

So­cial readers in­stan­ta­neously pub­lish the head­line of what you are read­ing on an­other web­site, with­out prompt­ing for your ap­proval.

It’s what Face­book calls ‘‘ fric­tion­less shar­ing’’, as users in­stantly share their in­for­ma­tion with ap­pli­ca­tions from the Washington Post, Guardian, Wall Street

Jour­nal, The Huff­in­g­ton Post and more. A lot of Face­book users in­stall the apps be­cause they see in­ter­est­ing head­lines on sto­ries that friends are read­ing and want to click through. It’s then just one click on the app in­stall page to read the ar­ti­cle.

One ben­e­fit to al­low­ing a so­cial reader is that some sites, like The Huff­in­g­ton Post, have a ‘‘ So­cial News’’ fea­ture that en­cour­ages readers to log in through their Face­book ac­counts and com­ment on ar­ti­cles un­der their real iden­ti­ties.

It’s a lot eas­ier and more in­stant than hav­ing to tap in your name and email ev­ery time you want to com­ment on a news story, so it works for you, and it works for them, be­cause when you do com­ment as your Face­book iden­tity, the story is in­stantly shared on your time­line.

Care about privacy? If you’re about to in­stall the app and don’t want any­one but you to know what you are read­ing, sim­ply choose the ‘‘ only me’’ op­tion when you in­stall, and noth­ing that you do with the app will be shared with oth­ers.

An­other way is to avoid the so­cial reader app al­to­gether. Go straight to Google or the news web­site in ques­tion and search for the story, in­de­pen­dently of Face­book.

Some peo­ple have stopped call­ing them ‘‘ so­cial readers’’ and started call­ing them ‘‘ spam hoses’’, be­cause they scat­ter- fire ad­ver­tis­ers’ in­ter­ests through your news­feed for all your friends to see.

Over­shar­ing may seem like an inane con­cern, but it runs a lit­tle deeper than that.

Us­ing so­cial reader apps en­tails shar­ing your on­line ac­tiv­ity more broadly than you may ex­pect.

Do you know what the third- party app is do­ing with the in­for­ma­tion they glean from hav­ing ac­cess to your pro­file?

It is an in­va­sive thought for the in­di­vid­ual, but a gold- mine for tar­geted ad­ver­tis­ers and other in­ter­ested com­mer­cial par­ties.

The beauty of shar­ing good on­line finds with friends is that you can cu­rate your se­lec­tion; choos­ing only the best links to post for oth­ers to ap­pre­ci­ate.

IN THE HEAD­LINES: ( from left) Khloe Kar­dashian, Kylie Jen­ner, Kris Jen­ner, Kourt­ney Kar­dashian, Kim Kar­dashian, and Ken­dall Jen­ner.

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