Social networks thrive on the sharing of information, but they must protect individual privacy to retain users, notes Erica Naone. A new study inspected 45 social-media sites and found that the most popular social networks' privacy settings typically veer toward the middle of the pack, though most networks go out of their way not to mention their privacy controls at all. "To the social network, your value increases the more data you share on the site," said a study co-author. "The best way to achieve that is to not bring up the concept of privacy."

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