Secure your Facebook privacy

As the BBC’s technology programme Click recently uncovered, Facebook is outrageously open to applications harvesting information that you have classified private. What is more disturbing is that an application installed on a friend’s account can remotely harvest your private data without you even having to install the same application. As the BBC report notes “It certainly seems that Facebook’s standard security settings are not sufficient to protect your personal information, and those of your friends.”

Click the story here and read Click’s advice on how to minimise the risk of exposing your private information here.

From Click’s website, here are the instructions to safeguard against (or at least, minimise the chances of) your private information going public:

OPTION 1: STOP YOUR DETAILS BEING VISIBLE

You can completely stop any of your details from being visible to applications.

Bear in mind that if you use applications, they are all granted access to certain parts of your profile, whether they need them or not. The only way to be sure no one can see your details, and to stop any of your details being seen by friends’ applications is to tell Facebook you do not want to have anything to do with any applications, ever.

Here is how you do it:

  • Log in and click on the “privacy” option at the top of the front page, then on the “Applications” option, then on the “Other Applications” tab.
  • Here you can select what Applications added by your Friends can see about you.
  • Click the option near the bottom marked “Do not share any information about me through the Facebook API”.
  • If you cannot click it, it is because you have applications on your profile already. You will need to remove all of them.

Now, your profile will not talk to any applications at all.

WARNING: Confusingly, if you now try and add an application, Facebook will let you. It gives you the standard warning that your details will be shared, but no extra warnings that you are overriding your privacy settings. It will also flip off the button you ticked about the Facebook API, making you visible to friends’ applications again.

OPTION 2: REDUCE THE DETAILS VISIBLE TO APPLICATIONS

Again, bear in mind that if you use Applications, they are all granted access to certain parts of your profile, whether they need them or not.

It is your responsibility to make sure an application is not malicious – although we have no idea how you can tell.

  • Log in and click on the “privacy” option, then on the “Applications” option, then on the “Other Applications” tab.
  • Select “Share my name, networks, and list of friends, as well as the following information.”
  • Here you can select what Applications added by your Friends can see about you.
  • Deselect any information you do not want them to see.

 

2 comments on “Secure your Facebook privacy

  1. Planet Apex
    June 2, 2008 at 4:11 pm #

    This is very disturbing. I’ve being using the net for many years now but never trusted it or put my real name … except on FB recently, that’s because all my friends were doing it and i didn’t want to be left out. I guess now my personal data is accessible to some smart geek who wants it. where the hell is all the data protection acts????

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