Remove Facebook Apps
by Jo Shaer, on February 28, 2012
"What do you advise re the privacy issues on Facebook. I'm trying to remove Facebook apps that request all my information, it just seems a step too far. Am I being paranoid?"
David of Rhythmshack
I must admit that I don't allow many Facebook applications. It depends what they want to have access to - and why - and what the app is.
I also don't put very much personal info about me onto my profile at all. Not that that stops them because every time I like a Page, Facebook inserts this information into my profile. Being as I sometimes like other Social Media Managers' clients' Pages to help them gain enough likes for a vanity URL, this can make for some very interesting reading.
David was also very unhappy with newspaper Facebook apps which tell people what you've read just because you clicked on a link. "It seems to make assumptions about what you actually like and then posts them when it may not not be valid. I've deleted them, but they're still appearing on my wall - even though I've removed the app."
Looking through my own list of Facebook apps, it would seem that a lot come from when I buy software and they ask me to like their Page, often in return for additional credits or some other bonus type of inducement. The upshot is that these favours automatically translate into an app having access to your information and until now, I had not really made that connection.
There was one the other week where I agreed to like the Page and when I went back to my timeline, I discovered that it had written itself a glowing review in my name! Even though I had only just bought it as a result of a webinar that I had watched so had no experience of whether it would live up to expectations. That Facebook app has now been removed because who knows what they'll decide to share to my timeline in the future without my further permission.
So I think that's probably the rule of thumb - use it for what you need to use it for and then delete it after... or is it?
In David's case, the newspaper was still publishing to his wall even though he had removed the application from his Facebook profile and was no longer clicking through on the stories. He could use the tab in the top right hand corner of each post to hide the post but why should he have to? Surely remove should mean remove?
To deal with the problem, it has been suggested that he should unlike the Page and then add the app again before deleting each section individually.
In the course of investigating the issue of privacy and apps, what I learned was that to delete apps on Facebook only stops them from accessing the info from that point onwards - unless you're allowing information to be shared through friends.
Once you've let the app in, they can store all your info and use it as they please. You've given them access to that portion of it for life and if you want them to stop, you have to contact the developer direct. I would say that 99% of users will either not know how to do that or won't be bothered so they get away with continuing to use our information.
For more information about Facebook app privacy.