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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Do you know all your Facebook friends? Too many friends is a growing problem that could lead to a digital privacy problem.

Dave Levy joined Facebook in 2004 and over the years his friends list skyrocketed to 24 hundred people. Soon his page was clogged with posts he had little interest in seeing.

“It’s funny that we think of these relationships as friends,” said Levy. “But its coworkers or a former client, former grad school colleague or someone you crossed paths with at a social event once.”

Consumer Reports Cyber Security Editor Bree Fowler says an oversized social network can have privacy repercussions.

“Everything you put out there, everything you post is basically public information,” explained Fowler. “The more people you have that can see your information, the more likely a hacker or someone who is not exactly who they say they are is going to sneak through.”

However, there are ways to protect yourself.

“You can create sub lists.  Create different groups of friends, close friends, work friends, family,” said Fowler. “You can unfollow, you can mute, you can snooze people for 30 days.”

You can also do some routine housekeeping.

“You have to do a quarterly purge.  Go through and weed people out,” said Fowler.

A quarterly purge doesn’t seem that easy, especially for those people that have hundreds of friends, which is most of us.

One easy way to determine who to purge is through those birthday notifications. “If it’s not someone you won’t post online a happy birthday, maybe you don’t need them as a friend anymore,” said Fowler.

It is a strategy that worked for Levy.

“Over the last 6 months to a year, I’ve reduced my friends to 600 to 700 people.”

Levy now sees more of the posts he wants to see while making his time online safer.

Facebook also allows you to prioritize which friends posts you see in your newsfeed and you can decide who gets to see your posts.


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