Facebook Apps: Are you putting yourself at risk?

The topic of Facebook App risks and privacy is one that I’ve wanted to write about for a long time, and after a few more conversations with friends asking about it, I decided that now is the time.

How many times have you been on a website/Facebook and seen a prompt like this to add the app to your profile?


Wait.. before you click that button!

Many people just click beyond it without actually READING it… but stop next time and make sure you do read it.

Notice the statement “THIS APP WILL RECEIVE”?

So you don’t know who the developer of this app is, or what they are going to do with your information but in the above example, they are getting whatever basic information you have loaded in your Facebook profile, your email address and what type of things you like.

I’ve also seen apps that access your photos, your FRIENDS (i.e. they can also be exposing your information) and all sorts of other things depending on the app. Summary: Watch what you are agreeing to share and if it’s worth the risk of using that app.

Most apps will also have a statement about being allowed to post on your and your friends timelines.

It’s also important to note the gray fine print on the bottom that says you are agreeing to their TOS and Privacy Policy.

Last, you can  customize who see’s your activity with Apps. Most likely, you’ve experienced this when you see these  notifications show up in your newsfeed from your friends.  This means that when you engage in action with that app it will post to the newsfeed and/or your timeline.

-> By selecting “Only Me”, your activity with the app will only be visible to you

-> “Custom” you can choose one of your lists of friends

-> “Friends” all your FB friends will see it

I wish more people would use this feature since I can’t stand my newfeed stream getting gobbled up by every guess of someone’s “Song Pop” game, I mean, who cares? If you are playing that game, good for you, but I don’t need to see that you know 89 sounds from the 80’s in 89 different posts!


Facebook Apps and Scams

[pullquote]Tips to Avoid Falling for this Scam:

  • Review all of your installed Facebook applications periodically
  • Always be cautious when allowing applications access to your profile
  • Remember that Facebook will never enable users to see who has viewed their profile; any application claiming to do so is a scam.[/pullquote]

Watch for the Scammers!! As with anything, there are those that are out to do evil and by getting you to authorize their app they get your information as I showed above and it’s not always pretty what they can do with it!

A common scam is the “Who viewed my profile” type apps. They feed on people’s natural curiosity and all it takes is one click and they got you and fill you with not only bogus information but grab your info. If you have EVER clicked on one of these apps, please go to your “Account Settings” -> “Apps” then DELETE it and then change your password for good measure. They will do you nothing more than be a big security risk.
To prove my point, you’ll see that even the BBB.org even writes about Facebook “Profile View Scams”

How do you block Facebook apps?

There are some apps that are always popping up and requiring me to “ignore” them. I found the requests from KLOUT very annoying and don’t add any value to my time, so I decided it was time to block those.

From your main “HOME” Facebook profile page you can find the App Center in the sidebar menu.
Next click on “Requests” and this will show you those pesky app requests. You then are given the option to “Block” the app.
Click “Okay” and that’s it!

You are also given the option to ignore app requests from the ones that sent it to you. Everyone has a friend or two that LOVE using every type of app available and sending you all those requests. This is the quickest, easiest way to eliminate those without having to unfriend someone.

In conclusion, it’s simple, just like any of your other accounts, be cautious of just clicking through links. Of course, there are plenty of good apps out there that are harmless and do make life easier and sharing fun, but it’s always smart to be aware of the app risks.

How To Hide Your Facebook Friends in 3 Clicks

Quick tip of the day.

A friend recently asked me how to remove their “Friend List” from their Facebook profile because sometimes you just want the privacy of who is your friend and not have others cruising through who you are networked with.

Here is a quick picture of how you can remove your Facebook friend list from showing on your profile page.

1. Start on your main “Friends” page. It is the page that shows all your friends, pretty straight forward :)

2. Click on the “Edit” button in the top corner

3. Select “Only Me” in the drop down box. Of course, you can customize this to a certain friend list if you want as well. The trick here is that if you have the setting set to “Public” then anyone that stumbles across your profile will be able to see all your connections as well. That’s a bit too much information circulating out there for my personal taste.

4. Click “Close” and you are done.

As you can see, this takes a matter of less than 5 minutes but gives you another layer of privacy customization.





How To Leverage Facebook To Grow Your Team

If you still doubt the power of Facebook in business today, here is a great example of major companies leveraging Facebook to hire and grow their work force.

When comparing traditional ways of hiring for your open job positions, what do you think will get the biggest response of applications? Notice that this page has over 600,000 “Likes”.. of course, not all of those are applications.. but boy.. they sure will have their choice of applicants!