Weekend project – delete those Facebook apps now

Here’s a suggested item for your weekend to-do list: review what apps have access to your Facebook data, then start deleting.

More specifically, take a close look at apps that let developers glom onto your personal information and then potentially share, or re-sell, that information to others.

To recap: this week’s tech headlines have been all about Facebook and the crisis for the social network. The social network revealed that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had used vast amounts of data from Facebook to build profiles of American voters to help Donald Trump’s campaign. Cambridge got the data via a researcher who created one of those seemingly harmless personality quiz apps that asked users to answer questions about their digital lives.

Facebook says it has stricter controls than it used to, and will now take a good, hard look at all its app developers to weed out abuses. You can take that at face value and either believe them, or be highly skeptical. (I’m in the latter camp.)

While you wait for Facebook to (hopefully) change, you can take action. Get rid of as many apps as you can now.  (Check out our Talking Tech video here.)

Unfortunately, Facebook makes this really hard to do. More on that in a second.

Many Facebook users don’t realize how often they’ve clicked a button to grant app developers access to their lives, ages and likes in exchange for the luxury of not having to register with e-mail addresses or other personal information. They grant sign-on access via Facebook with one click, and in turn, those app developers can get personal data.

The takeaway: It’s smarter to register for access with the app itself, instead of using the Facebook sign-in.

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