How To Protect Yourself From Facebook API Sharing

Controversy over Facebook’s use of our data is back in the news this week, with reports alleging up to 50 million users had their information obtained improperly by the firm Cambridge Analytica. The story has gotten so big that Congress has demanded answers, the FTC is investigating, and Facebook’s stock has plummeted. And amidst it all, many users are wondering how to better protect their data.

That’s why the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation published a simple guide this week for how to guard your own Facebook data. First, visit the “App Settings” page, then click the “Edit” button under “Apps, Websites and Plugins.” Then, click “Disable Platform.”

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a rather dramatic step. It will prevent you from logging in to any website, app or mobile game using Facebook, and your Facebook friends won’t be able to interact with you on apps. But in the wake of this most recent scandal, some users may feel the sacrifice is worth it.

But as an expert from EFF pointed out, it’s wrong that users need to consider taking these kinds of drastic actions in the first place.

“You shouldn’t have to do this,” EFF’s Gennie Gebhart wrote. “You shouldn’t have to wade through complicated privacy settings in order to ensure that the companies with which you’ve entrusted your personal information are making reasonable, legal efforts to protect it.”

And yet, we do.