I treat these sites as completely public, and that way I have simple decisions about whether to supply information. I also feel free to just lie, given that the consequences of losing a free service are pretty minimal. If it demands a home town, I supply a false one. If it demands a birthday, I supply a false one. If it asks for where I went to school, I leave it blank. In the process of doing so, I sacrifice some of the functionality, and the ads have slightly worse targeting, but everything pretty much functions as expected. At the point where a site starts demanding too much (e.g., LinkedIn) I simply abandon the account.
The Privacy Oxymoron - How do I increase My Privacy AND still get a great online experience
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