How to prevent Facebook apps from accessing your data

It’s practical: Don’t create a new account with the newspaper’s ePaper, but simply use the Facebook login. This is called single sign-on and is described in more detail here. Or funny: finding out what kind of animal you might be reincarnated as. Facebook offers such possibilities. Necessary for this are usually small applications that run on Facebook and are called apps in the social network. Do you know how many apps you have enabled on Facebook and which of your data they access? Not to mention what the providers of these apps do with your data …

The first tip sounds terse: Only use apps that you really need and find out (for example, in the privacy policy of the provider) what happens to your data. Stay away from tests that try to tell you which movie character you resemble, who is really in love with you, or whatever else they offer. Once data has been tapped, it can no longer be captured! In the end, the only thing that helps with too much spam or SMS junk is new e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers.

Tip two: You can regulate in the Facebook settings (login required) what such apps are allowed to do with the info in your Facebook profile and which of your Facebook data they are allowed to access. Here’s how:

Setting the apps on Facebook on your smartphone/tablet.
Open the “Facebook” app on your phone or tablet (if installed).
Open the “Burger Menu” (the three horizontal bars).
Swipe up and tap “Settings and Privacy.”
Tap “Settings.”
If necessary, swipe up a bit and tap “Apps and Websites” (this link will also take you directly there).
If you use apps with your Facebook profile, you’ll see a box titled “Signed in with Facebook”. Tap “Edit” there.
You can tap on each individual app. There, you’ll see a list of which of your profile info the app is allowed to access and who on Facebook can see that you’re using that app. You can change some of this by tapping the appropriate words.
If you no longer want to use the app, swipe up and tap “Remove App” at the very bottom of the page.


Setting the apps on Facebook on PC


After logging into Facebook, click on the circle with the triangle at the very top right.
Click “Settings and Privacy,” then click “Settings.”
In the left navigation bar, click “Apps and Websites” (this link will also take you directly there if you are logged into Facebook in another browser window).
The running apps will be displayed in boxes. Click them to see the app’s permissions and change them if necessary, or remove the app.


Set permissions for apps on Facebook


Now when you see that you have enabled apps on Facebook, you can manage the permissions for data access. For each app, you will see individually which of your Facebook data it can access. For most, “Public profile” will likely be required. You may be able to uncheck many others (such as “Publish content on your behalf”). Of course, if you do this, the application may not work as it should. However, we recommend allowing as few as possible. If a checkmark cannot be removed and you do not want to allow the application to access the data or function, you ultimately have no choice but to remove the app.

Incidentally, Google also offers a similar overview to Facebook for its users. There, the area is called “Apps with account access”.

What apps could do with your info


There are apps that comment, like or even write posts on your behalf. There are well-known cases, for example, where Facebook users suddenly advertise fake stores in posts without knowing or wanting to. Many phishing e-mails or scam text messages (e.g., “parcel service” and “voicemail”) are also often sent in waves after someone has gathered public information from social network profiles. Scraping is the technical term for this.

In addition, app operators can also use the data they receive for their own purposes in the background. Example: You have allowed an app to access your public profile and publicly display your relationship status. The app can collect this information and send it to the operator. The latter could thereby learn, among other things,

Whether you are in a relationship,
what your sexual orientation is.
This is important personal data. Sexual orientation, for example, is particularly worthy of protection under current data protection law. This means that anyone who wants to know this about you