Status Update: Facebook Privacy Concerns, AGAIN

April 30, 2010

By Larry Wiezycki:

Our good ‘ole social networking friend, Facebook is up to something again. Never content to just let friends be friends, the free internet service that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life” now shares with people outside of your life!

As if we didn’t know it, Facebook loves to gather information on us. We’re motivated to provide that information in order to make stronger connections to friends, family, and others. But Facebook has other ideas. Click here to learn more and watch a CNN report on the latest privacy concern.

Facebook recently debuted a new feature that allows 3rd party websites like Yelp! and Pandora to access some of your personal data when you visit. Wait a minute.  Shouldn’t it be up to you to decide whether this information is available to outsiders in the first place?

Believe it or not, Facebook decided they would make the decision for you to have your personal information provided to 3rd party websites.  In a confusing privacy preference called “instant personalization pilot program,” Facebook has hidden away a small check-box that turns this feature on and off. And guess what? Facebook has already checked the box for you.

Let’s go find it now, and turn it off. Login to your Facebook account and look for the menu bar across the top:

1. Click 'Account' to reveal the drop-down menu then, 2. Click 'Privacy Settings'

3. Next, click on 'Applications and Websites'

4. Under 'Instant Personalization Pilot Program' click 'Edit Setting'

5. Clear the checkbox at the bottom about 'Allow select partners to instantly personalize...'

6. CONFIRM that you're in-fact sure that you want to disallow the select partners from instantly personalizing features with your public information when you first arrive on their websites... or as we like to say: "NO means NO."

7. Also under 'Applications and Websites' under 'What your friends can share' hit 'Edit Settings.'

Finally, uncheck anything here that you don't want shared to applications and websites OUTSIDE of Facebook.