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TECHNOLOGY

Security Check: How to Review Third-Party App Permissions on Your Facebook Account

You might be surprised just by how many apps are gaining access to your personal data

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 21 Mar 2018

Security Check: How to Review Third-Party App Permissions on Your Facebook Account

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reportedly investigating Facebook’s data sharing policies, prompted by a data leak scandal that exploded over the weekend involving Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The firm gained access to the data of around 50 million Facebook users through a third-party app that offered a personality quiz to Facebook users in exchange for access to Facebook profiles and some information on the users’ friends on the social media platform.

This recent buzz had people taking a moment to check their third-party app permissions and security settings on their social media platforms. You may want to do the same. You might be surprised by just how many apps are gaining access to your personal data all because of that meme app that told you and your friends which celebrity you look like.

Here’s how to do a quick check of your third-party app permissions on Facebook:

On Facebook desktop

Click here and you’ll be taken directly to the App Settings page of your Facebook account. Or you can click the down arrow on the upper right part of Facebook and then choose “Settings.” After that, find the apps section on the left side of the page.

As you go through the listed apps, you’ll see two options beside it: the pencil icon and the “x” icon. Clicking the pencil icon lets you edit what information a third-party app can access from your profile. This can be your public profile, your birthday, your list of friends, the pages you’ve liked, and so on.

If you’ve noticed very targeted ads on your social network that are almost creepy in how well they know what you’re interested in, this might be the reason.

On Facebook mobile

There should be three short horizontal lines on the front page of your Facebook app. On Android, it is on the top right. On iOS, it is on the lower right.

Scroll a bit further down and then you’ll see “Account Settings,” after tapping on it, go to “Apps” and then choose “Logged in with Facebook.” Only then you can see the list of third-party apps you’re allowing access to your information. Click on each app to edit what you’re giving it access to. Check or uncheck the options given — e.g. friend list, custom friends lists, photos, etc. To completely remove the app from accessing your personal data, tap the “Remove App” button, which is located at the end of each app setting page.

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