Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Facebooks "Most Used Words" And Other Apps Are Privacy Nightmares

Facebook Apps Are Privacy Nightmares

When you see a cool, new feature, function of toy on Facebook pop up, do you head right on over and try it? Have you given it any thought as to why they make apps for you on FB? Or why they want access to your account?  Have you wondered what happens when you give those apps permissions to access your account, what really happens?

Maybe you should.

Every time you give an app permission to access your account, you are also giving permission for that app to not only peruse your account, but they also ping off your account into your friends accounts, regardless of their own set of permissions.

And now there's news on the street that the "Most used Words" Facebook app is causing what is called a "privacy nightmare."

17 million users have started the app and and folks are realizing as they take these dumb ass tests that they are so inclined to enjoy, that they are giving up a ton of personal information to an unknown third party, like their name, sex, friends list, and everything you have ever liked on Facebook. And don't forget, with you having given them permission, they can also access your photos.


That party is called Vonvon.me. And if you even took a gander at the privacy policy of the "test" authoring company, you will see that you have given them permission to store your user data on their servers. They also tell you that even if you terminate your association with the app on FB, they still have parts of your data that they will retain.

Yep, that's the gist of it when you give an app permissions.

If you're curious about what apps have their claws in your profiles on FB, follow this link,

https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=applications

And see who you've "freely" given up your profile too.  I went in and smite about 25 apps right away. And here I thought I was frugal in the apps category. Though to be honest, I've always veered away from the apps that want to post to my timeline for me, to make my experience more "social."

The world "social" is code. It's a trick word for "let me get to your data so I can market to you and your friends and family while pretending to do something for you."

And don't forget, it's just not your profile they can invade when you start having fun with your new app.

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How To Protect Your Facebook Profile


There are things users can do to help stave off the onslaught of information mining on Facebook.

Today, the symbol is a shaded out padlock up near your notifications circle, and clicking on that will bring up a reminder about who your posts are shared with.

Then clicking next will show "Your Apps," and to a degree, what permissions they have... I saw a few that did have access to my friends.  "Did" I say, as in, past tense.

To be honest, there should be zero reasons an app should need to see my friends profiles.

And now, none of my apps do. HA!

Oh, and if an app won't allow you to modify the permissions, well, you can just remove the bugger if you really do not need it. (Clicking the 'X' next to the app does the trick.)

Then when you're done ticking off the apps people, clicking 'Next' will show you what, in your profile, is accessible to who.

To be honest, so many people have all their information out there for all to see and I don't think they realize it.

This once through might be an eye-opener. It's worth it.

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Since we're on the subject of apps and privacy, this issue with apps holds no different for the apps you dump on your smartphones as you give them oodles of permissions. I just came across a piece that was wondering why WhatsApp accessed one fellow's contacts over 23,000 times in a week?

What's that about?

It's crazy out there but when you use a free application, there usually is some kind of cost. Period. It's just not as obvious as an upfront price tag.

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Sources:

facecrooks/Internet-Safety-Privacy/App-Privacy-Nightmare

smallbusiness/adjusting-facebook-application-permissions

thenextweb/why-has-whatsapp



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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce