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Creepy Facebook apps mine your profile for bikini shots, break-up status

Liane Cassavoy | June 27, 2013
Some third-party Facebook apps are moving into territory that's downright disturbing.

How to avoid creepy apps
The first step in protecting yourself from any of these apps is limiting how much you share on Facebook. If you don't want third-party apps checking up on your relationship status, don't enter one. You can leave it blank, and all of the folks who are your real friends will still know whether you're married or single, or whether "it's complicated." Similarly, if you don't want your friends searching for bikini shots of you, don't post them. (And, as an aside, if you have the kind of friends who might be tempted to do so, you may want to rethink your friendship--but that's just my opinion.)

Of course, it's not impossible to share information on Facebook and maintain some semblance of privacy. You just need to update your Facebook privacy and account settings, and check their status often to keep up with Facebook's constant changes. Under General Account Settings, you can access your Privacy and App Settings. Under the Privacy section, you can limit who can see information you post in the future, as well as information that's already been posted.

Under the Apps section, you can limit the reach of the Apps you use and, perhaps more importantly, the Apps others use. Here, you can prevent third-party apps used by your friends from accessing your personal information and the data you post. Uncheck any of the listed items that you do not want those apps to access, such as your birthday, status updates, education and work, and more.

You cannot prevent those apps from accessing some of the information that Facebook considers public, such as your name, networks, profile and cover pictures, gender, and friends list. If you'd like to block this information, you can block all access to apps, but that means you won't be able to use any of them yourself. It also means you won't be able to use Facebook to sign in to other websites. That's a drastic step to take, but it's one that will keep you safe from the creepiest Facebook apps out there.


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