Stop Them From Stealing Your Secrets: Facebook Apps




You’d think that the nitty gritty details of your facebook life are exposed to your friends and your friends alone. NOT!

Facebook Apps have access to your secrets!  Do you know what permissions you’ve given to apps you’ve “Liked” on Facebook? Probably not. You’ve probably clicked “OK” one too many times without realizing what it means to your privacy, what the apps can see, and what abilities the apps have to make changes to your facebook profile without your further approval and notification. Yikes huh?

Some things apps can “see” from your profile and EVEN YOUR FRIENDS profiles are:

  • Birthdays
  • Checkins
  • Groups
  • Likes – (They know I love fried chicken enough to “Like” it.)
  • They can even see your photos and your friend’s photos.

Some things apps can do to your profile AND YOUR FRIEND’S profiles include:

  • “Publishing to the Stream” – being able to add new posts to your wall and your friend’s wall
  • Doing things while you’re not even logged into Facebook
  • Manage Friend Lists

So if an app can manage your friend list and then do things on your behalf then imagine the possibilities for trouble.

permissions dialog

The permissions dialog shown here is a good example of a one that isn’t shy about asking  for everything. It wants to send you e-mail, post to your wall, get your friend’s profile information. Yeow Yahoo. What would they do with all that power any way? I’m personally afraid to find out, so if someone’s installed it, please let me know.

How would you even find out what you’ve given apps permission to do?

In Facebook, select the Account > Account Settings option in the upper right hand corner of the browser window. Then select the “Applications” setting. Here you can see which applications, or more importantly which application developers, can see and control your profile.

What can be done with this data, from a marketing perspective, is truly amazing. The deeper you dive into the Facebook Platform, the more treasure you find.  Apps allow themselves and therefore their sponsors, to go viral. If your friends get reminded enough that you’ve installed an app, whether it’s a horoscope or game app, they’ll finally break and install it too. Ahhhhhhh………


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