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Are You Being Pumped for Data by Facebook Apps?

How many times has this happened? You decide to log in to a website or enter a comment using your Facebook credentials, and the Facebook pop up appears and shows you something like this:

What about bloodtype? Do you want that too?

All I really wanted to do was login to The Mystery App with my FB credentials, not give away my first born. Do they really need such complete access to my Facebook account?

It all depends on what the app is doing of course; In some cases it might be a third-party tool that helps you to manage Facebook for business purposes and so needs greater access. But  I personally feel that many app request access to way too much information. Far more then they actually need to do their job. Facebook even warns third-party tools not to request too much information because there is a direct correlation between the amount of information they request and the amount of people that decline to allow it.

However, lets say that you do allow something like the above screenshot because you really want to use the app. All is not lost. Simply follow these instructions and you can customize how much information any app that you approve sees. What I usually do is approve an app and then go into the customization area and use my judgement to immediately restrict access to my information that I don’t think the app needs. Here is how you do it:

1) Go to Account Settings

Account Settings

2) Click on Applications tab on the left to show you a list of applications that you have given approval for.

Applications Tab

3) Click on the ‘Edit’ next to the app that you want to edit the rights to.

Click Edit

4) Facebook will present a list of all the points of data that the app is requesting. Some will be ‘required’ and some will be optional. The optional ones have a ‘Remove’ link next to each piece of optional data.  Click on the Remove link to disallow the app from seeing that piece of data or interacting with Facebook on your behalf (like adding an Event to your wall).

Click Remove to disallow that piece of data from being seen by the app.


That’s all there is too it and you can at least reclaim some of your privacy from third-party applications. Don’t get me wrong; As a business owner, I very much appreciate the fact that I can retrieve data and demographic information about the people that interact with conXt. But I tend to draw the line with extraneous information and ‘pumping’ users for information so that they can be targeted more effectively.

What do you think? Are third-party apps trying to help themselves to your data?


Posted in Privacy