How to control data collected by Facebook apps

As you may have heard, Facebook has acknowledged that data from Facebook users wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica and then to the Trump campaign.

Controlling data accessible to apps

In this case, the culprit was a Facebook app which, like many apps on the service, gathers personal data as a matter of course. And while Facebook may be in the process of tightening its controls over how these apps operate, it remains essential for users to be aware of what apps they’re using and what information they collect.

You can either edit the app’ permissions or remove the app by clicking the x to the right of the app. Removal is a good option if you don’t plan to use it again.

You can view and control the data apps collect by going to the App Settings page that can can access as follows:

Web: Click on down arrow to the right of your Facebook home page, select settings and select Apps from the left column. That brings up a page for your installed apps. Click on an app to see and edit permissions

Mobile: Click on the 3 horizontal lines (upper right Android and bottom of iOS screen) to bring up the menu and scroll down and click  Account Settings and then Apps. Tap on an app to view and edit its privacy settings.

Control what your friends apps can reveal about you

Information that friends can access about you can be passed on to app developers but there are two ways to control this. One is to share less information with friends and the other is to restrict what the apps can pass on. The second option is probably the best one for most people.

As you can see from the image below, when a friend gives permission for an app to access their data, they also pass on the information about you that is checked in the “Apps Others Use” permission box. If you want to keep them from accessing any or all of this information:

  1. Click down arrow on top right of any page
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click on Apps in the left hand column
  4. scroll down to Apps Others Use
  5. Click Edit

 How to deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook account
Facebook has two ways to disable your account. One is reversible and the other is permanent.

You can deactivate an account and then later reactivate it. While it’s deactivated, people can’t see your timeline or search for you, though some information, such as messages you sent, may still be visible.

If you delete your account, it’s gone forever and can not be reactivated. Facebook says that they “delay deletion a few days after it’s requested” and that a deletion request is canceled if you log back into your account during that period. They further say that it can take up to 90 days to delete data stored in backup systems.

To deactivate an account (with option to reactivate later)

  1. Click on the down arrow at top left of any page
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click in the general tab in left column
  4. Select Manage Account
  5. Scroll down to Deactivate your account
  6. Click Decativate your account
  7. You are then required to enter your password

To permanently close your account

You need to click here to notify Facebook of your intention to close your account and then select Delete My Account

Control what your friends apps can reveal about you

Information that friends can access about you can be passed on to app developers but there are two ways to control this. One is to share less information with friends and the other is to restrict what the apps can pass on. The second option is probably the best one for most people.

As you can see from the image below, when a friend gives permission for an app to access their data, they also pass on the information about you that is checked in the “Apps Others Use” permission box. If you want to keep them from accessing any or all of this information:

  1. Click down arrow on top right of any page
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click on Apps in the left hand column
  4. scroll down to Apps Others Use
  5. Click Edit

 

 How to deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook account
Facebook has two ways to disable your account. One is reversible and the other is permanent.

You can deactivate an account and then later reactivate it. While it’s deactivated, people can’t see your timeline or search for you, though some information, such as messages you sent, may still be visible.

If you delete your account, it’s gone forever and can not be reactivated. Facebook says that they “delay deletion a few days after it’s requested” and that a deletion request is canceled if you log back into your account during that period. They further say that it can take up to 90 days to delete data stored in backup systems.

To deactivate an account (with option to reactivate later)

  1. Click on the down arrow at top left of any page
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click in the general tab in left column
  4. Select Manage Account
  5. Scroll down to Deactivate your account
  6. Click Decativate your account
  7. You are then required to enter your password