Facebook App Privacy Settings You Should Know

More

Q: Facebook privacy issues are in the news again? How do I protect myself -- and my information -- from third-party applications?

FB.jpg

A: A report released by the Wall Street Journal this morning found that some of the most popular applications on Facebook, including Zynga's Farmville, which has more than 50 million users logging in to plant carrots and tend to their sheep, have been releasing identifying information to Internet tracking and advertising companies. This activity has affected tens of millions of users -- even those that had opted for the social network's strictest privacy settings.

The leak goes against Facebook's Privacy Policy, so there's nothing you would have been able to do to stop it -- except to stay away from the apps in question completely. Still, one of Facebook's newest features will allow you to monitor which applications are accessing which parts of your profile and, if you don't like what you see, to block them completely. Knowing your way around this feature will help you to avoid becoming a part of the next privacy breach.

To see what information on your profile Facebook applications can access:

Visit Facebook.com, log in with your user information and, on the top right-hand corner of the screen, click on "Account" and then "Privacy Settings." On the bottom of the screen, choose "Edit your settings" from the "Applications and Websites" module. This page will show you how many applications, games and websites have access to your information and allow you to "Remove unwanted or spammy applications" (individually) with the click of a button. Or, you can choose "Edit Settings" and go through the list more thoroughly, looking at each application individually to see when they last accessed your information and which sections of your profile they have access to.

From the "Applications and Websites" page, you also have the option to "Turn off all platform applications." That's the easiest way to protect all of the data you share on Facebook, but is it worth losing your farm for?

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

It's the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In