Your friends are sharing your info through Facebook apps (and they don’t even know it)


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Delete your accounts and appsFacebook 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.

Facebook privacy settings menu 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.

Facebook app privacy settings 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.

5 Replies to “Your friends are sharing your info through Facebook apps (and they don’t even know it)”

  1. Chris says:

    Kind of peculiar that turning off apps/the fb platform wasn’t mentioned let alone advocated in this post. The best solution to this problem is: don’t use facebook; second best is: turn off apps/the fb platform; 3rd best is the solution offered in this bog post. To turn off apps/the fb platform, follow the directions listed here:

    With solution #s 2 & 3 all apps still have access to the following “publicly available information” about you, ie: “information that is always publicly available” through your FB account
    1) Name
    2) Profile Pictures (that you make public) and Cover Photos (all of them, you can’t change this):
    3) Gender:
    4) Username and User ID

    FB’s privacy policy also states: “Choosing to make your information public also means that this information:
    can be associated with you (i.e., your name, profile pictures, cover photos, timeline, User ID, username, etc.) even off Facebook; can show up when someone does a search on Facebook or on a public search engine;
    will be accessible to the Facebook-integrated games, applications, and websites you and your friends use; and
    will be accessible to anyone who uses our APIs such as our Graph API.”

  2. Kimber says:

    I can’t find step 4

  3. carolynn (black) hester says:

    I am so glad to know I”m nuts over my obsession for maintaining MY privacy/security settings……. for the longest time it did not matter how many times I reset, changed accounts, restored, re-installed, I was still having problems with others accessing my user data all over the place everywhere I went; social, gaming, email…..(a good part of the problem is my s/o who keeps trying to be the network admin via remote sessions……. )….. have busted him out several times and each time I managed to become secure albeit briefly…… then the changes came with FB and I freaked at learning about the like button, developer tools, sponsored ads,, etc……… and yes he did it again….. anyway your DNT+ and subsequent info is exactly what I was trying to do by myself……. love, love, love……

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