Social Networks are all about sharing. Say you dine at a fantastic new café in the Third Ward, and you want to post a review on Yelp. You then click through and post your new review to your Facebook page, Twitter, and then share it on Google + just for good measure. Or better yet, you’re not in Milwaukee and you’re using Yelp to find a place to grab a bite.
The problem is that all of your social networks are using existing cookies to figure out what sites you’re searching for, and to better build a profile of you for their advertisers. Though this isn’t a huge issue for most users, some privacy advocates have found this to be a step to far.
As Boing Boing noted today, there is a new Firefox add-on called Sharemenot that will allow for users to only transmit information via these widgets when they choose to share the information. This won’t make a huge difference for most users, but for the privacy focused this will allow them to make the choice on who gets their information.
To be fair, I think that the major problem with these sort of schemes is that far too much of our browsing is being monitored anonymously. People would feel less creeped out if they were explicitly told when and where Facebook and Google were going to peeking at their surfing habits.