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Thursday, September 15, 2011

When was the last time you looked at your facebook settings?

As you're probably aware, facebook has made some subtle but important changes this week to the way that people can share information on its platform ... see this article from Mashable for details.  I generally am a pretty transparent guy, but facebook is, for me, a walled garden.  Only for people I know and am friends with "in real life."  I therefore wanted to make sure that, with the changes to facebook, that I knew exactly how they'd impact me.  I wanted to be sure that my facebook status updates would continue to be for my friends, and ONLY for my friends.

As I was poking around on the site, though, I discovered that over the last 4 years, I have given about 14 million apps access to my data.  This is bad.  The reason it's bad is that many of the companies that made these apps don't even exist anymore, and each one is a potential security risk.  So I'm writing this post to encourage you to prune your facebook apps, and make sure that the only ones with access to your account are the ones you WANT to be there.  Here's how:

In the upper-right corner of your facebook page, select "ACCOUNT" and then "ACCOUNT SETTINGS."  On the left-hand menu bar, you'll see "Applications" as an option.  Select it ... and prepare to be blown away by how many apps have permissions on your facebook account.  Facebook makes it easy for you, and shows you the ones that access your account most often ... so my advice is to scroll to the bottom, and start deleting anything you aren't using anymore.  [Superpoke?  Are you kidding?  I installed that in 2007 and haven't seen it since!]

Lastly, given facebook's new capabilities for sharing status updates:  If you're like me, and only want for your friends to see your status updates, you can change the default settings for all status posts:  In the upper right corner, select "ACCOUNT" and then "PRIVACY SETTINGS."Click the gigantic radio button in the middle of the page called, "FRIENDS" and you're good to go.  I'm going to get in the habit of updating my facebook settings every six months or so ... just to be safe.

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