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In Facebook We Trust?

What American brands do consumers trust the most when it comes to privacy? It may surprise you to learn that Facebook ranked No. 10 in a new survey.

The online social networking phenom has drawn heat from consumers and privacy advocates in recent years for sharing information about users' purchases on eBay, Overstock.com and other retailers. It also exposed the birthdates of 80 million users when launching a test site last year.

Yet, according to a new survey of more than 6,400 adults, Facebook ranked among the most trusted American companies in terms of privacy practices. The survey was commissioned by Truste, a firm specializing in Web privacy, and the Ponemon Institute, an information security research company.

The survey results highlight an apparent disconnect between how consumers think about their privacy online and concerns raised by privacy groups about social media sites like Facebook and search advertisers' ability to use consumer data for behavioral advertising.

Online privacy has provoked hand-wringing in Washington, as lawmakers including Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) promise to address the issue with legislation that would set guidelines for how online giants like Google handle the data they collect on individuals. The Federal Trade Commission said earlier this week that it would conduct a series of roundtables over the next year to further study online privacy concerns.

By Cecilia Kang  |  September 17, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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