Thursday Freebie: No strings attached help for those trying to communicate through social media and the web. Be sure and share this link with all your friends.
Numerous news sources have begun to report on problems with Facebook privacy in particular when using apps. Because it such an open platform that encourages “friends” sharing these apps with each other it is now populated with rogue apps that can spread spam, malware, and outright scams.
Even legitimate apps present huge privacy risks allowing 3rd party developers to private Facebook data. A large number of Facebook users are unaware that these applications make it possible for their “friends” to access information in their personal Facebook profile. In her article, “How Much Do Your Friends’ Facebook Apps Know About You?” Sarah Kessler points out those applications you share with friends can reveal your:
- status updates
- current city
- app activity
Short of ditching all social media or unplugging you computer, there are options to ensure your private information is not available to other people.
Option One: Disable all Platform Apps
You won’t be able to play games or share birthday cards but this is the most obvious and definitive solution. By disabling apps you are totally prohibiting any third party Facebook application from accessing your account.
Disabling apps is a simple process. Go to “Privacy Settings”, scroll down to ‘Edit Settings’ under “Apps and Websites” and click “Turn off all apps”.
Option Two: Learn How to Limit Access
Since many of us have come to love the way Facebook allows us to connect with people the good news is that here is an answer short of abandoning the social media ship. When on the “Privacy Settings” page you can modify to further limit access to your profile data. On the same screen find “How people bring your info to apps they use’ and click “Edit Settings”.
From here, you can use the check boxes to prohibit your friend’s apps from accessing specific categories of your data. Anything with a check mark is already being shared with your friends. Remove the check marks to restrict access to your account.
One of the chief complaints about Facebook is that it makes finding these privacy controls confusing. The very fact your friends have access to your data without your consent is a problem in itself. Thankfully, there are several 3rd party sites that make managing your privacy settings a snap. These include:
- MyPermissions.Org – Takes you directly to the application settings page for Facebook and other popular social networking platforms. The site will also email you an automatic monthly reminder of what apps you have added and what permission they grant.
- BitDefender Safego – A Facebook app that scans your News Feed and protects your from scams. This nifty app serves as a Malware protector designed specifically for Facebook.
- PRIVATE WiFi® – If you travel a lot or use a tablet or laptop from public WiFi hotspots, consider this a necessity from now on. The program comes with a 3 day free trial and costs about $10 per month but is well worth the investment.
- Do Not Track+ – a free browser plugin that keeps websites from tracking you. Some web browsers offer a stealth mode but it must be turned on each time you open the browser. This free plugin opens automatically and blocks other web sites from planting cookies or accessing any information from your computer.