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This makes the social network more attractive to users by facilitating the development of new and creative methods of interacting with contacts and the network.To make these applications useful, social networks may allow developers automatic access to public information of users.

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But who else can see it, and what exactly is visible?

Entities that collect personal information for legal purposes include: Social networks that provide their services without user fees make a profit by selling advertising.

Social networks themselves do not necessarily guarantee the security of the information that has been uploaded to a profile, even when those posts are set to be private.

This was demonstrated in one May 2010 incident during which unauthorized users were able to see the private chat logs of their contacts on Facebook.

In addition to public information, third-party applications may access some private information.

A user may grant a third-party application access to his or her profile without realizing the extent of the permissions being granted.

This practice is appealing to marketers because targeted advertisements are more likely to result in a purchase by a viewer than comparable non-targeted advertisements.

They are valuable to social networks as they can be sold at a higher price than regular ads.

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.

However, many people besides friends and acquaintances are interested in the information people post on social networks.

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