How to know which third-party apps have access to your Facebook information and how to limit it
One of the things that the Cambridge Analytica scandal has revealed is how we transfer our personal data without realizing it on social networks. It only took a seemingly innocent personality test for hundreds of thousands of people to agree to transfer their personal data without knowing it, which allowed this company to harvest the information of 50 million US citizens.
Therefore, today we are going to explain how to know which third-party apps have access to your personal information on Facebook, and how to stop them from having it to prevent them from continuing to track everything you do on the social network. And, among the data that you can give to third parties is not only your list of friends or personal information, but also your photographs or a few clicks on “Like” that can help companies know what your ideals are.
A few years ago, Facebook even allowed these applications to access the personal data of your friends, but after modifying the API in 2015 now they have to settle for a simple list of these friends. However they can still access a large amount of dataalthough fortunately a quick and easy process has been created to limit this.
Sometimes, when you connect to an application with your Facebook account from your computer’s browser, you may be given a choice of the information you share as happens when installing apps on Android. However, this process is quite automated on mobile phones, so it is possible that you are transferring much more data than you think. These are the data that you may be transferring
Public profile: It is usually the only mandatory personal data to be able to use the applications, so you cannot deactivate it. This is your public profile, with your name configured, your profile picture and other information such as your age.
Friends list: It is your complete friends list. When you have the sharing option activated, the companies behind the applications you are using will be able to know the names of your Facebook friends. This list is often used by applications to search them for your Facebook friends.
Birthplace and current city: With these two options activated, the application can know in which locality you grew up and which is the city where you live now. This data will be obtained from your profile, so it will depend on the information you have filled in on Facebook.
Photos: Some apps will also require permission to get your photos. This is necessary, for example, to be able to use the photos you have on Facebook in an app. They will get both the photos that you have uploaded and those where you have been tagged.
Clicks on “Like”: Perhaps one of the most valuable data you can give to a company. By knowing which posts on Facebook or other websites you have liked, a company can know your political leanings or what you think of certain topics. This is the information that Cambridge Analytica allegedly used to fabricate fake news to manipulate the minds of certain people.
Personal description, date of birth or email: These are three different options that can be active, and with which you will give the company data that you have configured on Facebook, such as your date of birth or email. Also the personal description, something that can help companies know how you see yourself or what things you like.
How to know which third-party apps have access to your information
Facebook has a menu in which list all the apps you are logged into with your account, and therefore access your personal data. To access it, open the drop-down menu in the social network, and within choose the Settings option to enter the panel where you can adjust all its options.
Once in the Facebook settings, in the left column choose the Applications option (1). Once you do, you will be shown a list of all the applications in which you have used your Facebook account to identify yourself, and to which you have therefore given permission to access your personal data.
From here you can now delete the apps that you no longer use. However, if you are curious to know what type of data each one accesses, hover the mouse over one of them so that two option icons appear on the right, and click on the option Edit configuration (2) what you will see with a pencil icon. A screen will open where you can manage the data obtained by each application.
How to limit access to your personal data
When you enter the configuration of one of the applications with the previous step, a window will open like the one you see. In her you can check what data each application accesses, which depending on each of them can be more or less.
If you notice, apps like TripAdvisor automatically get permission to harvest a large amount of data, although only your public profile is required to function. That means that everything else you see on the list you are giving it to him unnecessarily, from the information about the posts you like to your photos or your friends list.
Precisely to prevent the application from collecting unnecessary data but you can continue to use your Facebook account in it, in this box you can deselect all the data you want to stop sending. Once you have deselected all the ones you want, press Save and the changes will be applied, from now on Facebook will stop giving those selected data.
Unfortunately, this process does not delete the data that the app has already collected about you, and Facebook also does not give you a solution to eliminate them, since it has stopped depending on them. The only thing it tells you you can do is contact each developer individually and formally request that they delete your data.