Facebook reached 1 billion users today, so we figured it was a good time for a privacy PSA. Even without your permission, many Facebook apps can access your data with your friends’ permission. Many of the most used apps–including Skype, Yahoo, and Daily Horoscope–include this loophole. The career networking app BranchOut is a good example: it requests “your basic info” plus seven other permissions, including your and your friends’ current locations, your and your friends’ work and education history, and your email address.
Many people just click “allow” on all app permissions, but there are some that users should think twice about allowing. While there are approximately 70 different permissions that app developers can use, many are quite invasive when it comes to online privacy. This makes it pretty complicated for everyday Facebook users to sort through the risks.
Take matters into your own hands by limiting how your data can be used through your friends by following the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1: Log into your Facebook account.
Step 2: Go to Privacy Settings.
Step 3: On the Privacy Settings Page, scroll down until you see a category for “Ads, Apps and Websites.” Click the “Edit Settings” link beside it.
Step 4: The Apps, Games and Websites page will open. You’ll see a category for “How people bring your info to apps they use.” Click the “Edit Settings” button beside it.
Step 5: A box will pop up with a list of all the personal information that your friends’ apps can access. Uncheck all 17 boxes for the most privacy, or pick and choose the info you’re comfortable sharing. Hit the “Save Changes” button when you’re finished.
Now you’ve controlled how your friends’ apps can use your personal information! Congrats on taking control of your online privacy. If you find tips like these helpful, sign up for our PrivacyWatch service for just $10 per year to get other expert tips and alerts about Facebook privacy changes right to your inbox.