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Friday, November 19, 2010

Facebook, I thought we were friends


I love Facebook -- probably a little too much. But it's been such a great way for me to keep connected to my brothers and sisters, my bazillion cousins, friends I used to hang out at Mom's group with (before we got too busy being moms that we don't have time to see each other), old high school friends and 500+ other people that I've felt a need to be connected to. What can I say? I'm a social creature.

And probably like most Facebook users, I click those links to find out which Harry Potter character I am, what color my personality is, and tonight, who has deleted me as a friend. Turns out that last one was spam. I figured that out once it took me to some page that wanted me to complete a survey before it would show me my results. I didn't take the survey and clicked out of the app. But by then, I'd already given it permission to access my information, make posts to my wall and who knows what else.

Fast forward to a few hours later, after I woke up from my evening nap, and I realized that the stupid app had posted the spammy link on my personal page, on the 4th Frog page and on the page I manage for work. I clicked delete on those posts, but knew I needed to go in and remove the entire application.

This is where I started feeling icky about Facebook. Let me be clear, it's not Facebook's fault. I (half) read  those agreements about allowing access to my profile, my high school SAT scores, and my last performance review when I clicked on "how much do you know about Spongebob Squarepants" and "which Glee character would you mash up best with" and others. What I didn't realize -- or at least pay attention to -- is that fact that long after I clicked "allow" on those applications, they would live on in my Facebook account and had my permission to access my information.

When I went in to my account privacy settings to delete the "who deleted you" app, I saw the list of all those stupid quizzes I've taken. There were actually fewer than I would have expected. What was really unsettling, though, were the apps that had accessed my information and data long after I figured out that my personality is green and I'm Ron Weasley. I could also see that some of the apps, like my favorites Scrabble and "God Wants You to Know," had never accessed my data.

So I removed about 30 apps I'd previously granted access to, ignored requests for 40 more, and changed my Facebook password for good measure. I'm still a fan of Facebook. But I'm also a more cautious and more aware one as well.

5 comments:

kbiermom said...

Thank you for this.

I don't do any of the quizzes, so I was thinking, well, this doesn't apply to me.

But, just for kicks, I went to check on my apps...

The list is long! I don't even remember authorizing some of them! It's nice to see that most of them have been behaving themselves -- no activity in the last six months -- but why was Bejeweled Blitz checking me out within the last 24 hrs? Um. Oh. Yeah. Because I said it could.

Soon, I'll be going in and cleaning up my list.

As a fave professor of mine used to say, "well, sadder but wiser." I'm sure he'd be marveling at all the opportunities we have these days to gain wisdom. :/

Shelley said...

Really excellent article, Amy. My mom clicked unwisely on some FB app and ended up with some kind of porno thing posted to her wall. Yikes!

Facing50Blog.com said...

Hi new follower here....enjoying your blog. I'm afraid I fell foul to spammy links too and I was doing so well at 'Top Gun' and 'Farmsville' ....still I have more time now to read great blogs. :) I shouldn't really be on facebook at my age anyway.

Annie said...

WOOO! YEAH! GO AMY!! WOO WOO WOO!!! NEW FOLLOWER!!!! WOOT WOOT!

heehee-
love you mommy :)

Hanna said...

HI there! I am your newest follower via google and twitter from the blog hop! Lovely blog:) You can find me at www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com