How to Avoid Facebook “Bad Stuff”

Perhaps you’ve received Facebook spam?   A post appears in your News Feed which seems a bit peculiar.  Perhaps it is a promise of a free iPad, or the promise of finding out who’s looking at your Profile.   Or maybe it is just that your friend likes a link, perhaps it is a video.  Perhaps your intuition tells you, the post is unlike the person you know.  Trust your intuition, and resist the temptation to click on a too good to be true, suspicious, or out of character link.   The linked to page may have a hidden Like button, and when you click anywhere on the new page, you have unknowingly reposted the spam.   Known as clickjacking, you have just sent a like of this link to all of your friends, and propagated this spam!

I have been using Facebook trouble free for almost 5 years now.  I believe the primary reason  I am trouble free, aside from  being careful about the links I click, is that I have all applications turned off on Facebook.  I don’t use any games, or Facebook plug-ins for the simple reason that I am not comfortable with allowing any application or website access to any of my data on Facebook.   With my applications turned off, I can’t participate in social games so I don’t farm in FarmVille or play Scrabble.  I can’t interface with any other website, like Twitter or CNN.  However, I can copy and paste a URL into a post without having to use a Recommend button (or other Facebook plug-in device).

When you elect to use an application, game, or web interface to Facebook, you receive a Request for Permissions pop-up, which asks for permissions to access your account data.  In haste we may click allow, without realizing the access we are granting.   Past Facebook security breaches have been tied to a few not so nice applications that contrary to Facebook policy, shared user data with advertisers or other companies.  I believe Facebook is diligent and serious regarding safeguarding user privacy.  Facebook immediately takes action over violations, and looks for solutions to prevent future incidences.   However it is up to the individual Facebook account holder to control their own privacy settings and understand the permissions that they grant!   It is a good idea to check up on which applications, games, and/or websites have access to your data.

Here is how to see what applications, games, and websites you are using with Facebook – you may be surprised.  Click on Account, Privacy Settings, and Edit your settings within ”Apps and Websites” (bottom left).  There are two ways to view your apps from ”Apps you use”.

If you click on Edit Settings within “Apps you use”, it lists your apps, and when they were last used.  Click on Edit Settings next to each app to see what each can access – you may again be surprised.  Some access can be removed, some access is mandatory for the app to work.  You can click on See details from “Last data access” to see what data of yours the app has used.  You can also remove the app from this screen.

Click on the button Back to App Privacy (upper left).   Notice that “Apps you use” has a toggle to turn on or turn off applications.  You can easily remove one or all of your apps, just click on turn off all platform apps.  If you click on this, you receive a list of apps you are using and can select all or individual apps to remove.  If you turn off all applications, life is much simpler as this will automatically disable the next three options. “Info accessible through your friends”, “Game and app activity”, and “Instant personalization”.  Isn’t that sweet?

If you have all your apps turned off within “Apps you use”, the toggle will read  turn on platform apps.  You won’t be able to breed sheep in FarmVille, but you have proactively protected your Facebook data.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Popkornpam
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 07:13:35

    I know several facebook farmers that need to read this!!


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