It’s the most vexing digital-age question: Should I share this?
After the AdultFriendFinder.com hack and the IRS “Get Transcript” debacle, CNBC asked me to look into the topic of online oversharing. You can read the story I wrote here. But here’s one thing to think about: Oversharing rarely *feels* like oversharing. That drunk at the bar who told you about losing the spelling bee in elementary school on a damn technicality didn’t realize he was oversharing. Well, sometimes Internet users are a bit like drunks at a bar. How else can you explain this? U.K. group The Parent Zone recently found that parents post, on average, almost 1,000 photos of their children before they reach age 5.
The truth is there’s no way to interact with most websites and apps without surrendering at least some basic personal information—and at sites ranging from AdultFriendFinder.com to IRS.gov, users often ended up sharing a lot more.
Sometimes there aren’t great alternatives: Experts say there’s nothing the IRS hack victims could have done to ward off that attack, for example. (It’s a bad idea to avoid telling the IRS how much money you made last year.) But there are some steps you can take to protect yourself online: Things like don’t click, call; think long-term when posting on social media; mind your passwords.