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New tools let social media users control shared information

Tuesday - 10/16/2012, 6:00am  ET

WASHINGTON - Social media companies make it easy to share with friends. But the information users provide is often passed on by websites to data-collecting companies.

Researchers recently found that more than 20 percent of the 10,000 most popular websites have a Facebook widget. Twitter's "tweet" button can be found on 7 percent of those top sites.

Frustrated users who want to protect the information they post now have options to regain control of their information.

PrivacyChoice this week released a widget-scrubbing tool that monitors how tight a user's privacy settings are and gives the option of disabling share buttons. In the first 24 hours that it was available, roughly 50,000 people signed up, according to The New York Times.

Disconnect.Me, another available tool for social media website users, lets people see how many companies are tracking them on every website they visit on Chrome.

WTOP's Randi Martin contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)