A large number of users haven’t tried to access their privacy settings since they signed up with Facebook.

A new report from Consumer Reports found that 13 million users have failed to do just that, despite Facebook’s attempts to update and strengthen their privacy system and settings.

The report also found some more alarming trends among Facebook’s practices and users. For instance, 4.8 million members have released “too much” information about their lives, such as details about where they plan to be on at certain times that can lead to “a potential tip-off for burglars” or “liked” certain health pages that insurers can use against them. The IRS even uses Facebook to research public postings on citizens for taxpayer cases, although the IRS forbids investigators from “friending” someone to gain access to private information.

Consumer Reports also discovered that Facebook collects a massive amount of information on its customers such as their “likes,” even if they only visit the page and don’t actually click the like button. Plus, thanks to weak US online privacy laws, companies such as Facebook don’t have to tell their users what they do with the information that they collect about their customers.

Facebook, which is used by more than 150 million Americans, doesn’t help make things easier for their users. A separate study found the privacy policies for Facebook are more convoluted and harder to understand than most credit card agreements or government regulations.

Social networking experts have said if you are concerned about keeping your Facebook completely private, there are a couple of things you can do, including:

  • monitor your posts
  • keep all private information such as addresses, phone numbers and employers off of the web,
  • make your Facebook wall “un-public”
  • block apps that monitor your account
  • if all else fails, just de-activate your account

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