Apr 22, 2010
So Facebook is having their annual F8 conference this week to announce new features to the site and changes in how to develop applications. Among the mostly mundane and superficial changes like changing "became a fan of" to "like" Facebook has continued their goal of turning information you intend to share privately with friends into public content which other companies will pay them to see.
The latest development is changing how user data is handled by application developers. Until now, any information you posted to Facebook was generally visible to the developers of applications you used (like Farmville) and they were allowed to keep it for up to 24 hours after you used the application. This include your name, where you are, who you're friends with and, in some cases, if you shared it your email address and phone number. As announced this week this 24 hour restriction no longer exists. The information they collect about you and your friends is now theirs to hold on to indefinitely to use and share (and sell) as they see fit.
So, to combat this and keep your privacy private. Here are the steps to change your seeing to make yourself more secure when using these apps.
- From your facebook page go to Account > Application settings
- Change the Show select box to Authorized
- Click the "x" next to any applications you do no use on a regular or are simple things such a quizzes or surveys. (quizzes are generally just nonsensical apps the developers make to trick you into sharing your information with them)
- In the popup click "Remove" and the "Okay"
- Rinse and repeat
These steps will make it so that the developers of these applications can no longer see your information you are sharing with friends. But there's one more aspect to what you share with applications that most people don't know about. That's what information you share with the applications your friends use.
There are a number of applications which also collect information on you when your friends authorize an application that you may have never heard of, let alone authorized them to see your information. These steps will protect you from sharing this information with them.
- From your facebook page go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites
- Next to "What your friends can share about you" click "Edit Settings"
- On this page uncheck ALL of the boxes and click "Save Changes"
From just a quick skim of the checkboxes you can see the MASSIVE amount of information developers can get from you whether authorized them directly or not.
There are many, many more holes is Facebook's default security and privacy settings and I encourage you all to explore and change these settings as you see fit. This is a company who is in the business of making your information more public and you should ALWAYS make sure they are not making it more public than you want it to be.