Facebook Apps: To Allow or Not to Allow

As any avid social networker knows, Facebook has infiltrated all areas of the Internet. From a like button on your favorite blog post to logging in with your Facebook account on a news site, Facebook applications and plugins are everywhere you turn. Applications can make your online social life easier than ever, and also allow you to integrate every part of your online presence into one place. However, all these applications can be daunting and make you unsure of what you are really allowing access to. As Facebook becomes bigger than ever, it is important to understand privacy implications and how your information will be used.

Before you hit that “allow” button, ask yourself these questions so you fully understand Facebook applications.

What are Facebook apps?

Applications on Facebook, or Facebook apps as they are commonly known, can be anything from games and quizzes to website integrations. When you want to connect your Twitter or LinkedIn account to your Facebook profile, you are installing an app. When you play Farmville with your friends, you have installed an app on your profile.

What areas do apps have access to?

Every app has different requirements for usage. Facebook recently launched a new control screen for app installation that allows you to learn more about the application and what it requires to run. Some examples are: public information, friends list, email address, and interests. Additionally, most apps request permission to post on your behalf – for example, when you reach a new level on a game, some apps will post on your wall this achievement.

Depending on your personal privacy preferences, you should make sure you review the app’s permission requests. Remember that once you install apps, your personal information can be shared with those developers.

Can I control the app activity?

With the new app install screen, you can now more easily restrict access to your apps, as well as control which of your friends can see activity from that app. There is an audience selector on the app install screen, so any new apps you install can be easily managed from the point of installation.

But what about my old apps? Your App Settings can be found under your Accounts Settings in the account drop-down menu in the right hand corner of your Facebook page. From here, you can revisit any older apps you may have installed and adjust settings. In the end, if you aren’t fully comfortable with an application, you always have the option of uninstalling it from your Facebook profile.


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Dana is the Senior Social Media Marketing Manager for Collegis Education who composes content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She focuses on building engagement through social networking and online communities.

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