A Bulgarian blogger, Bogomil Shopov, wrote in a post on Tuesday that he had purchased a spreadsheet containing about 1.1 million email addresses from Facebook users. He purchased this info on the site Gigbucks from a user named “mertem” who claimed to have gotten the info from Facebook apps. This obviously represents a gross violation of Facebook’s privacy policies, so they sprang into action, emailing Shopov and asking him for the info.
For the most part, Shopov complied with Facebook’s requests – he gave the data back and deleted his copy. Facebook wanted to keep the matter private, and obviously that didn’t happen. Gigbucks also banned the user “mertem” and took down the post. But still, despite the quick action of Facebook and Gigbucks, this case raises some serious concerns about the privacy of users’ data, particularly when it comes to apps.
Third-party apps often have full access to your private data after you accept their invitation. Some apps can even gather information from your friends’ profiles. Facebook users should be careful to only use apps that they trust from reputable publishers and platforms, and be sure to check your apps once in a while to see if there’s anything there that you don’t remember downloading.
You can also control your privacy settings to either prevent your friends’ apps from finding your info or shutting off your apps platform completely. In order to do that, go to Privacy Settings,then click on Ads, Apps and Websites. You can then either turn off your apps completely in the “Apps You Use” page, or disallow apps from using your info by deselecting boxes in the “How people bring your info to apps they use” page.
Third-party apps represent a big risk to your online privacy, so only use the ones that you absolutely know to be honest. But thankfully, Facebook allows you to control what apps can and can’t do with your information, so take the initiative and adjust your settings. As the Shopov case illustrates, you can’t always count on Facebook alone to keep
your information to stay safe.
We have often warned our readers to be very careful as to what apps you choose to install on Facebook. We have also alerted users to the fact that apps your friends use can also threaten your privacy. Listed below are a few resources you can use to protect yourself from these rogue Facebook apps:
BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.
PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.
Action Alert | Free Parental Control offers a 100% free Internet safety solution designed for parents. There is also a Maximum Protection option for parents that need a more advanced set of tools.