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It’s the apps that allow developers to grab onto your data
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Protect your Facebook information from third-part apps in just a few steps. Jefferson Graham reports on #Talking Tech.
Here’s a suggested item for your weekend to-do list: review what apps have access to your Facebook data, then start deleting.
More specifically, take a close look at apps that let developers glom onto your personal information and then potentially share, or re-sell, that information to others.
To recap: this week’s tech headlines have been all about Facebook and the crisis for the social network. The social network revealed that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had used vast amounts of data from Facebook to build profiles of American voters to help Donald Trump’s campaign. Cambridge got the data via a researcher who created one of those seemingly harmless personality quiz apps that asked users to answer questions about their digital lives.
Facebook says it has stricter controls than it used to, and will now take a good, hard look at all its app developers to weed out abuses. You can take that at face value and either believe them, or be highly skeptical. (I’m in the latter camp.)
While you wait for Facebook to (hopefully) change, you can take action. Get rid of as many apps as you can now. (Check out our Talking Tech video here.)
Unfortunately, Facebook makes this really hard to do. More on that in a second.
Many Facebook users don’t realize how often they’ve clicked a button to grant app developers access to their lives, ages and likes in exchange for the luxury of not having to register with e-mail addresses or other personal information. They grant sign-on access via Facebook with one click, and in turn, those app developers can get personal data.
The takeaway: It’s smarter to register for access with the app itself, instead of using the Facebook sign-in.
In the meantime, check your Facebook setting to see how many apps have been granted access. I did this week, expecting the list to be around 100 or so. (I’m a tech reporter— check out apps all the time.) Instead, it nearly topped 400. Four hundred! From the ones that I actually use and like, like Airbnb, Booking.com and Gas Buddy to apps that have been dead for years, like Path, Phanfare and Revision 3.
To delete the apps, click the checkmark next to the question mark at the top right of the News Feed, select Settings, then Apps on the left-side menu, and then Apps, Websites and Plug-ins.
From there, take a look at who you’ve granted access to, and start deleting those apps you don’s use.
Here’s where you’ll see just how difficult Facebook makes it. There is no Select All button, or even a way to select multiple apps at once. You’ll have to delete each one, one by one, And each time, Facebook will say: “This will remove the app from your account, your bookmarks and the list of apps you use .” And then this kicker, that the app “may still have the data you shared with them.” For information about removing this data, contact the developer, Facebook advises.
Facebook’s messaging is the same for all apps, and you have to endure it with every delete.
“It’s easier to get rid of a car that’s a lemon and return it to the dealer than it is to get rid of Facebook apps,” says Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with Kaleido Insights. “This is the Facebook business model. We are the inventory, and they’re not going to let us just walk away.”
But you can. It will just take some time. But it’s worth it.
Facebook faces the dilemma of losing trust and even users in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data leak. Jefferson Graham reports.
Phil Rosenthal is the producer and host of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil” travel/food series (Photo: Jefferson Graham)
An Arizona woman was struck and killed by a self-driving Uber test car. Police said Uber wasn’t at fault, as the pedestrian crossed outside of a crosswalk, but the message is clear: with self-driving cars being tested in urban areas like Phoenix and Toronto, be careful being a pedestrian.
Dropbox began selling shares on Wall Street, but you know what — its terms for consumers are not so great. It offers 2 gigabytes of free storage space, compared to 15 gigabytes free from Google Drive. The cloud-storage service hopes to make a mint on Wall Street with its new IPO. But consumers looking to strike the best deal for online storage should look elsewhere, as we pointed out. Dropbox has the least liberal terms among the big five, which include Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple.
YouTube said it would ban videos with guns. The Google-owned video network is tightening its restrictions for content about guns and now forbids videos about the selling and making of firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Best Buy said it would stop selling phones made by Huawei, the Chinese smartphone giant. It has seen its ambitions to break into the U.S. market curbed by U.S. concerns about Chinese espionage. Lawmakers in the United States have placed Huawei and another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, in the crosshairs over their reputed ties to the Chinese intelligence and military establishment. Both companies have denied any such complicity.
Thank Netflix for giving Phil Rosenthal the greatest job ever. Rosenthal, the executive producer and creator of the Everybody Loves Raymond series, gets to travel and eat, on the streaming service’s dime. Check out our profile.
Phil Rosenthal, the host of Netflix’s “Somebody Feed Phil,” meets Jefferson Graham for lunch, and reveals his top 3 favorite destinations in the world.
Safe for Work: The new podcast from Wondery Media offers tips on how to survive the workplace jungle. Co-host Matt Ritter joined me to preview.
Pay attention, people. My thoughts on the Uber/Arizona tragedy, and how it’s more important than ever, in the self-driving car area, to look both ways and only use the crosswalk when crossing the street.
TBS introduces augmented reality app for Final Space cartoon. TBS exec Brett Weitz talks about tech and adult animated comedy Final Space.
Making sense of the Facebook mess. I weigh in on the social network fiasco and how to respond, questioning whether it’s worth it to delete Facebook now, or just use it differently.
Dropbox, Google, Amazon or Microsoft – which has the best deal for online storage? My thoughts on that.
Come ride down a hill to the Manhattan Beach Strand with me, courtesy of a #GoProHero6 strapped to the handle bars. Yes, I know, I can’t ride a straight line. I learned this the hard way when I started watching the GoPro footage. Sorry people—but still, it’s fun! #southbayphotos #visitcalifornia #hermosabeach #manhattanbeach #california #southbay #strand #ocean #waves #lowtide #hightide #90266 #losangeles #visitlosangeles #usatodaytravel
A post shared by Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Mar 23, 2018 at 10:06am PDT
That’s it for this week’s Talking Tech weekend wrap. Please subscribe to the TalkingTech newsletter via this link. Follow me on Twitter, @JeffersonGraham and check out my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/jeffersongraham. If you haven’t checked out the daily #TalkingTech podcast yet, now’s the time. You can listen on Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio or wherever you enjoy online audio.