How to Quiet Facebook's Oversharing Social Apps
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
January 26 2012 02:12 PM ET
If you haven’t yet switched your Facebook profile to the new Timeline, the folks at Facebook will do it for you over the next few weeks. When you see the message at the top of your page, you’ll have seven days to review its contents and delete items you’d prefer to stay buried.
Less-than-flattering photos , love notes from a former partner or catty remarks about someone who is now your friend could all be moved to your new profile, unless you remove them before the seven-day grace period ends. But that’s only the beginning. Facebook has a slew of new apps designed to fill it up again with everything you do.
Facebook debuted its new social apps last fall with only three items. The digital music service Spotify posts music you’re listening to on your friends’ tickers, the running list of friends’ activities located on the upper right of the home page. And it will post to your Timeline, once you have it. The Washington Post’s Social Reader adds articles you’re reading on its site, and Foursquare lets friends know when you check into a location. But last week, Facebook’s social offerings jumped from three to 63, and more are on the way.
With apps of old, you decided who got a Farmville elephant topiary. But now, once you’ve authorized one of the new apps to access your account, any future actions you take within that app will be posted to tickers and your Timeline. Friends will see what you read, what you listen to, where you go, what you cook and what you buy.
The idea is to document your interests and activities with photos, music files and other goodies — without any effort. But do you really want your mother to know you just bought a pair of Smith ski goggles from NerdGiant when she had to pay your phone bill this month?
If she’s your friend on Facebook, she’ll have two chances to see it. A notification will immediately be posted to her ticker. A second note will be added to your Timeline — for all to see — and will stay there unless you delete it.
Controlling social apps
You may want to limit who is able to see what you’re doing. By default, the apps are set to “friends,” but you can limit your audience to a list you’ve made, selected individuals or just yourself — a good option if you want to create a private, personal history. Facebook also gives you the option of excluding individuals under “Custom.” Here’s how:
For example, say you want to add Snooth, an app that hosts virtual wine tastings: You go out, try the recommended wines and then write reviews. On the Snooth homepage, you’ll notice an invitation to add it to your Facebook Timeline. Click “Taste,” and a login box will pop up. Choose “login with Facebook,” but before you click the button, adjust the privacy controls by opening the box under “Who can see activity from this app on Facebook.”
You may also adjust who sees information from any app you’ve already added. Go to your privacy settings to find “Apps and websites” and then select “Edit settings.” You’ll see a list of all of the apps currently connected to your account and have the ability to edit each one. But if you prefer a global approach, use Facebook’s built-in restricted list feature. Put Mom on it and she’ll only see posts and app activity that you’ve marked “public” — you’ll still be “friends” and avoid those awkward questions.