The online social network I use asked me to enter the password for my email account so that it could find my friends who might already be members. Is it safe to do this?
It is never a good idea to give out the password to your email account to anyone or any company. In the case of social networks, some of the largest and best known -- Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn -- offer users a quick way to locate friends who are already members of the social network by asking for the password to your email account. They use automated programs to search through your email contacts and match the addresses with current members.
While some users choose this option, there are always inherent risks of sharing your password, such as that your password will be misused or divulged and that you will become the victim of identity theft.
A safer way to find friends on a social network is the old fashioned way. Look through the friends of friends to find individuals you know. Or use search functions to look for specific people you know who might already be members. It may take you longer to accumulate hundreds of friends, but you'll be able to sleep better at night.
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