Managing Apps On Facebook – What You Need To Know

Ads by Google

facebook appsFacebook apps are a way for third parties to offer features and services inside Facebook. If you spend a lot of time on Facebook and love to share activities with friends, such as playing games or listening to music, apps are a godsend. The downside, however, is that most apps need access to your personal data and some require additional privileges. Hence, third party apps can become a security risk.

Do you know how many apps you have granted access to your personal data? And are you aware to what level they can interact with your profile? If you don’t, it’s time to find out. This article explains what different levels of access exist and how you can manage your apps.

Finding Your Installed Apps

You can quickly get an overview of your installed apps by going to the Apps tab under your Account Settings. To open Account Settings, click the little arrowhead in the top right of your profile and choose the respective option from the drop-down menu.

facebook apps

The App Settings page not only shows you which apps you have granted access to your Facebook profile. You can also see a summary of what each app has access to, what information it actually has accessed, when it was last used, and finally you can edit and remove apps. Let’s inspect these options in more detail.

Another way to access your apps is via the My Apps page in the App Center. Here you can click on Settings in the bottom right of each app to manage the respective app.

Ads by Google

free apps for facebook

Levels of Access

Apps can demand access rights to very different types of information and activities on your Facebook profile. Below is an overview, which includes every type of access I could find within my apps. Thus, the lists are possibly incomplete.

Access to…

  • your email address.
  • your profile info, including description, activities, birthday, education history, groups, hometowns, interests, likes, locations, relationship status, relationship details, religious and political views, status updates, websites, and work history.
  • your stories, including check-ins, events, notes, photos, status updates, and videos.
  • friends’ profile info, including descriptions, activities, birthdays, education histories, groups, hometowns, interests, likes, locations, relationship status, relationship details, religious and political views, website, and work histories.
  • stories shared with you, including check-ins, events, notes, photos, status updates, and videos.
  • permission to access your data when you’re offline.

You cannot change what data an app has access to. So once you granted this access, you have to remove the entire app to withdraw that permission. Moreover, any data the app has collected while it had access, potentially remains in its possession.

What you can withdraw selectively, are any of the following rights.

Rights to…

  • post on your behalf, including status updates, photos, and more.
  • access your contact information.
  • access your friends’ contact information.
  • access posts in your News Feed.
  • access your data any time, i.e. when you are not using the application.

Now let’s see how you can manage your apps.

Edit & Remove Apps

From the Apps under Account Settings, pick an app from the list and click Edit on the far right or simply click the whole entry. This will open a window showing what information the respective app has access to or what it can do on your profile.

The app I picked (Pulse) needs my email address, was granted to post on my behalf, as well as access my News Feed and data any time. However, it hasn’t accessed any of my data, yet. Only my friends can see posts this app makes.

free apps for facebook

I find this level of access a bit much for an app that merely provides news updates. Thus I decided to remove what the app can do. You can remove any of the access rights you have granted. Moreover, you can change who can see posts this app makes for you on your Facebook Timeline, if you allow it to do that in the first place.

free apps for facebook

As mentioned previously, you can not change access to whatever is listed under ‘This app needs:‘, you can only remove the entire app. In case you want to remove an app, click the X on its far right or, when in the Edit window, click Remove app in the top right.

free apps for facebook

When removing an app, you will be asked to confirm the decision and at the same time you are given the option to delete all your activity related to this app on Facebook. This may come in handy in case this app posted updates to your Timeline that you would like to see removed.

apps for facebook

Add Apps To Favorites

Apps you use often are shown in a list at the bottom of the left menu. This list changes, depending on how often you use an app and although this list represents your Bookmarks, you have little influence over it. However, you can add apps to your Favorites that are listed in the top of the menu. Go to the list of Apps that have recently appeared in your Bookmarks, click the little pen icon to its left and choose Add to Favorites.

apps for facebook

Block Apps

You can block selected apps and there are two ways to do this. Either you received a request for an app. This will be listed under Requests in the App Center. Go there, click the X next to the request to delete it and click the Block (App Name) link in the yellow box that comes up.

To block or unblock apps, go to your Privacy Settings, click Manage Blocking in the bottom right, and scroll down to the Block Apps section. Here you can block apps by entering their name into the text field and selecting it from a list, or Unblock apps that have been blocked previously.

facebook apps

Conclusion

It is in your hands to decide what level of access you are willing to grant a third party Facebook app. After you have authorized an app to interact with your Facebook profile,  you can revoke that access anytime. However, in some cases you might have to remove the entire app and data collected up to that point may not be reclaimed.

For a more thorough coverage of Facebook Apps, visit the Apps, Games & Credits section in the Facebook Help Center.

How many Facebook apps do you have? Did you find any that you don’t remember authorizing? Have you removed access rights or apps as a result of this article?

Ads by Google

20 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Bethany

I wish I knew if there was a way to turn off all apps except the ones I want. My block list of apps is over 40 pages long.

Tina

Wow, how did you manage to collect that many apps? Amazing!

Beth

I sat there for half an hour with a bunch of keywords like “free”, “slots”, “big”, “horoscope”, “profile”, “ville”, “fun” – copied them to the clipboard one at a time. Paste, block, paste, block, repeat :P I REALLY hate stupid apps and don’t want anything to do with them but they just keep coming!

Giggity Goebbels

Lol

Reply

Shahbaz Amin

Thanks for this much needed guide!
I probably should go through my list of apps and disable the ones which aren’t needed (or don’t remember were there!).

Reply

Anonymous

I keep a close eye on fb to prevent random posts

Reply

Asif Mistry

Any idea managing apps for developers (app that I wrote to integrate in my website)

Tina

Asif, I’m not exactly sure what you mean. I’m not an App Developer, so probably won’t be able to give you a good answer. Maybe try asking your question on MakeUseOf Answers.

Asif Mistry

Thanks for your reply

Reply

George Corcoran

Getting stuff off facebook via cell fone is even more of a pain. An article for android users would definitely be a nice addition!

Tina

George, do you mean how to manage apps via Android?

Reply

Vishal Srivastava

Thanks for this guide. Will help me keep an eye on my facebook apps…

Reply

Alexander

Thanks for the guide :) Gonna use it soon since i have collected quite a few apps, and i don’t some of them anymore

Reply

Christine St Syr Griffin

thank you Tina any advice on the dreaded face is much appreciated. just don’t get it why is it so invasive and why do I care what someone I might have known 20 years ago has a wife who has a friend and her friends grandma who might know my other friends mother etc etc OK I’m just venting now, so great advice and when I go to makeuseof through face is that considered an app?
thanks ever so much
christine

Tina

Well, in this case it’s not Facebook that is invasive, it’s third parties that *may* try to leech your data through a Facebook app. This is not Facebook’s fault really.

In this case, you willingly approve the leeching of your data as they have to tell you what access they will gain before you authorize the app.

Yes, I believe if you use Facebook to log into MakeUseOf, you authorize us to use your email. This will be listed as an app on Facebook. We need your email address to send you comment notifications. We will not share it with third parties.

Reply

Damien Garcia

This article was so good, I clipped it using Evernote web clipper! Thanks.

Reply

DR Krunk

Conclusion: If you want endless spam, targeted pop-ups, back-door browser hacks, unwanted “toolbars”, and junk snail-mail, use “free” apps on Facebook

Reply

Adinamo Alex

so much spam for apps…hmm

Reply

lilith stoness

hi tina, this comment might not be part of the topic but part of another facebook related topic that has been deleted. something along the lines of 4 things to do if your facebook got hacked. well my bfs did and i have used another email address but then it asks me for the secret question, something a hacker can easily change ( which in this case he did ). what should i do in that case?!?! the fb that was hacked is the one we first met on and i would love to get all those old messages back from when we first met 6 years ago. the ip address is private so i cant do it that way. when i messaged the hacker on my bfs old profile asking who it was and that it was wrong all he told me was ” thats nice “. i would like to know what to do in this situation plz and thank u.

Tina

Lilith,

The article still exists, but comments have been closed since it’s over 6 months old. If you browse the comments there, you will find many similar questions and responses to them. You can also search MakeUseOf and you shall find more questions and responses on Answers.

In short, there is not much you can do, other than to go through all the steps suggested in the article and if none of that works report the account as compromised to Facebook and hope for the best. That’s all I know.

Your comment