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    Recent Stories About Privacy and Social Media on Facebook

    Here are a few news articles about privacy and the use of social-networking site Facebook. The Washington Post reports that Facebook has released its first report on requests for user data from the U.S. and other governments. The United States has “by far” made the most data requests, the Post reports. CNN reports that the people you’re connected with on Facebook could affect your credit score. Salon reports that the social-networking site has unveiled a privacy guide for victims of domestic violence.

    Facebook report: 74 countries sought data on 38,000 users” Washington Post, August 27, 2013

    Facebook fielded requests from 74 countries for data on at least 38,000 users in the first half of 2013, the company said in its first report detailing the scale and scope of data requests it receives from governments around the world.

    The report, released Tuesday, covers every request the company has received from every government from January through June 30. Facebook said the report includes requests made for security reasons and for criminal cases. In the latter, the company may be asked, for example, to supply information to help authorities in robbery or kidnapping cases. In those requests, the company said, officials often seek data on users’ names or length of service and sometimes users’ IP address or “actual account content.”

    The United States, by far, has sought the most user information from Facebook — from 11,000 to 12,000 requests for access to more than 20,000 accounts. Facebook said that it supplied data in roughly 79 percent of those cases.

    Facebook friends could change your credit score” CNN, August 26, 2013

    A handful of tech startups are using social data to determine the risk of lending to people who have a difficult time accessing credit. Traditional lenders rely heavily on credit scores like FICO, which look at payments history. They typically steer clear of the millions of people who don’t have credit scores.

    But some financial lending companies have found that social connections can be a good indicator of a person’s creditworthiness.

    One such company, Lenddo, determines if you’re friends on Facebook with someone who was late paying back a loan to Lenddo. If so, that’s bad news for you. It’s even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with. […]

    Some in the financial industry are skeptical about social data and online behavior being used as a kind of credit score. John Ulzheimer, a credit expert at, says social data aren’t necessarily indicative of whether the borrower will pay back a loan on time. FICO only considers a handful of factors, but they are all “incredibly predictive of risk,” Ulzheimer said.

    Facebook launches privacy guide for survivors of domestic violence” Salon, August 2, 2013

    Facebook has launched a privacy guide aimed specifically at survivors of domestic violence, explaining content controls that will allow users to connect with friends and family while minimizing the risk of jeopardizing their safety or being exposed to an abusive partner.

    The guide informs users how to control the information they share, makes clear who may be able to see which details they post and how to report abusive communication if and when it happens.

    Facebook created the guide in partnership with the National Network to End Domestic Violence in an effort to support the needs of victims and help prevent survivors from feeling isolated, according to NNEDV’s Cindy Southworth.

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