Post Cambridge Analytica data sharing incident, Facebook has been auditing apps on a large scale and as per an independent news portal, Facebook has already suspended hundreds of apps linked to Facebook. Most of the apps linked to FB have access to the private data of its users. Although Facebook is taking stringent measures to tackle this privacy-leak issue, you as a user must take some vital steps to prevent the privacy breach of your account.
In your Facebook account, you can see which apps are connected to your FB account and control the way it has access to your personal credentials.
Click on the drop-down mark on the right of the quick help sign (?) and click on settings and then Apps and websites from the left-hand menu.
On this page on the web, you can see the active apps and the websites which are connected to your account.
Here you can see three tabs showing the apps that are Active, Expired, and Removed.
Active. These are the apps that you are currently logged into with your FB account. If you update the info you have shared with active apps, these apps will be able to view this updated info on your profile.
Expired. If you are not active on the app for more than ninety days, that particular app automatically falls under the expired category. Although these apps cannot make new data-access requests, these apps still have access to the information you agreed to share while signing up.
Removed. These are the linked apps or websites that you have removed manually. Just like the expired apps, these apps still have the access to the data you allowed earlier.
Note: In order to remove the data access to any app, you need to contact the developer of the app. Choose the app and click on View and Edit. Now navigate to the bottom right of the screen and click on report.
From the various options, select the option that says “I want to send my own message to the developer”. Now you will have three options. Now Block the app and keep it from accessing the info. Or you can also send a message to the developer to request them to delete the information permanently from their database.
Manage the App Information
Hover the mouse on the app and click View & Edit. Now following is the information that you share with the linked app.
Public Profile. You cannot edit this information
Email Address. Unclick the radio button, if you do not wish to share your mail ID.
App Visibility and post audience. You can define here “who on Facebook can view that you are using this app”.
Post. This app can post on the Facebook timeline on your behalf. To disallow, un-tick the radio button.
Send you Notifications. To stop the app from sending you notifications, you can select No from the drop-down options.
To do app privacy settings on an Android device, open the Facebook app, tap on the menu (three parallel lines)>account settings>Apps>Logged in with Facebook
Delete the apps
You can completely delete the apps from the active or expired list. But remember deleting the app will prevent the app only from sending further data access and it still has all the information you shared earlier.
Disable Apps Permanently
If you do not want to link to any app, website, or game with Facebook, you can do this by turning off the platform completely. Afterward, you will not be able to login to any app or website that requires Facebook credentials to log in. Neither you will be able to play any Facebook-linked games with your friends. The following screenshot shows further limitations of disabling the apps completely.
Manage Ad Preference
Have you ever wondered how Google and Facebook show ads on FB based on your interests? You have already bought Lenovo ThinkPad laptop for which you were researching on the web but you are still receiving advertisements about the same product. The good thing is that Facebook allows you to control the way advertisement networks use your privacy data.
On the PC, you can find the ad settings under Facebook settings>Ads. Let’s have a look at all the setting options on this page.
Here you can see the thumbnails of various companies. If you are surprised to see some of the vendors whom you do not like, just hover over it and Facebook will show the reason why it is here. So some of the reasons may be that you liked the page related to the company or you have clicked the advertisement of the company or its partner.
You can remove any of the interests by hovering the mouse to the upper right corner of the thumbnail.
Advertisers you have interacted with
The advertising companies you see under this heading are those with whom you have shared your email address or you have visited their website or used the app.
Some of the ads are displayed on your screen based on your profile which includes relationship status, employer, Job title, and education. You can turn them off. Second, based on your activities and your interests, Facebook has added you into various categories like shoppers, travelers, Android Devices, and much more.
- Advertisements based on data from partners. When you visit Facebook partner websites or apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, oculus or messenger, FB collects data from these apps to show you ads related to your visits. To disallow Facebook from collecting data from its partners, you can select disallow from the drop-down options.
- The second option allows you to allow or disallow the Facebook to use your ad preference to show relevant ads on Facebook products like oculus, messenger or WhatsApp.
- Ads based on social actions. You take multiple actions on your social media accounts like liking a page, commenting, joining some event, and much more. Facebook uses this data to show the ads on your friend’s account. So here you have the option to either allow Facebook to show ads based on your personal interests to your friends or none at all.
Hide Ad topics
This is again an interesting option to control the way ads appear on your FB page. You can disable the ads based on various categories. By default, it shows you three categories viz. Alcohol, Parenting, and Pets but you can customize them by suggesting your own category. You can disable the ads for six months, one year, or permanently.
Security & Login
Under the Facebook settings, on the top of the left-hand sidebar is Security & Login settings. Here you can see the complete list of devices that are used to log in to your Facebook account. If you get suspicious about any device, you can log out of that particular device or alternatively log out of all the sessions at once.
To strengthen the login process further you can do the following settings.
- Login with your profile picture. Instead of using an email ID or mobile number, you can click on your picture to login.
- Use two-factor authentication. This will create an additional layer of security by asking you a code and password to log in.
Privacy Settings & Tools
This tool comprises two settings that you can edit. The first one is the activity under which you can control who can see your posts and the other one is “How people find and contact you”.
The settings that need attention are “Who can look you up using the mail address or phone number you have provided”. Make sure “everyone” is NOT selected.
The other privacy setting to look for is the linking of your profile outside of Facebook. If you do not want search engines to show your FB profile you can turn this off here.
This is another private piece of information that you can restrict Facebook to use. The setting says that if you allow FB to recognize you in photos or videos, it ensures a better experience. So you can edit it and select No from the dropdown menu.
Under the Facebook settings, you can navigate to blocking. Apart from blocking users, messages, and pages, the best part is that you can block the apps so that they will not be able to contact you or have access to your personal data.
Restrict Facebook from Revealing your Private Data
So if you are frustrated with the thought of data leakage and the way Facebook uses your personal information to show advertisements or any other vested interest, you must try the above tweaks to safeguard your privacy. These steps will help to minimize access to your personal information by Facebook. As always, I would like you to share your views on this post.