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Facebook to Prevent 3rd-party Apps From Seeing Your Information Via Your Friends


On Tuesday of this week, Facebook announced significant changes to their profile controls and sharing options. The roll out of these changes begins today, August 25th. You’ll find an excellent summary of the changes by Jason over on our Save and Savvy blog.

Meanwhile, we’ve been busy digging into the details and reading between the lines.

And there’s lots of details to consider:

Dig Into the Details

Wait… there’s more:

Dig Into the Details

Aha! Now this is interesting (Facebook buried a good lead here…):

Info accessible through your friends

This setting has been replaced so that instead of just being about your friends, this now prevents anyone you shared something with from re-sharing it with applications.

If we are interpreting this correctly — Facebook will now prevent third-party applications from seeing your information via your friends. This is something that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) took issue with already back in December 2009 (the last time that Facebook made similar changes).

ACLU Blog Of Rights

The ACLU even created an application to demonstrate just how much access applications have via your friends:

ACLU, What Do Quizzes Really Know About You?

And this is the information that is available by default:

Info accessible through your friends

Based on our polling, not many people realize just what this privacy setting controls.

And the only real way to be sure your friend’s third-party applications are blocked is to completely disable Facebook’s “platform”.

Dig Into the Details

Facebook recently began offering refined privacy controls in its Application Settings for what your applications share with your friends. Each individual application’s “App privacy” can be adjusted:

App privacy

But based on our reading of these new details, it looks as if Facebook is about to take this one step further and will simply prevent all third-party application access via Friends.

And that would be excellent news.

Still, if you have a Facebook account, don’t wait, take the time now to examine your Privacy Settings and adjust the “Info accessible through your friends” in the “Apps, Games, and Websites” section, just to make sure that your settings reflect your personal preferences… before Facebook’s changes are applied.

P.S. to the ACLU: You really should consider decommissioning your “Quizzes” application and delete its page.

The application doesn’t work properly anymore, and you’ve allow the page to become overrun by spam.

Dig Into the Details


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