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Keeping Applications in Line

Now that we’ve discussed the privacy settings for direct interaction with other people, let’s talk about the settings for applications.

How to Authorize and Deauthorize Applications (and What Exactly That Means)

There’s more detail about this in the Applications and Other Add-Ons chapter, but in a nutshell, applications aren’t allowed to access most of your information until you authorize them. (This usually happens the first time you use an application, when you click the Allow button in the dialog that gives you access to it.)

You can authorize and deauthorize applications on the Applications page, which you can get to by choosing Application Settings from the Settings menu in the blue bar.

  • Choosing Authorized from the menu at the top of the Applications page lets you see which applications are currently authorized. Clicking the X on the right side of the entry for an application will allow you to remove (deauthorize) that application, or completely block the application if you so choose.
  • Choosing Allowed to Post from the menu shows you which applications are currently allowed to publish stories to your News Feed (such as, “Dave Awl just sent a Knight who says ‘Ni!’ to a friend using Monty Python Gifts”). Click the Edit Settings link next to an application to edit its posting permissions.
  • Choosing Granted Additional Permissions from the menu will show you the applications that are allowed to access your information even when you’re not online, as well as the applications that are allowed to send you notifications by e-mail. Click the Edit Settings link to make changes.

How to Keep Applications You Don’t Use from Accessing Your Information

The Privacy Settings > Applications > Settings page lets you limit what information friends can see about you when they’re using an application you don’t use yourself.

By selecting or deselecting these checkboxes, you can choose to make such info as your education history, your photos, or whether you’re online or not (just to pick a few examples) off-limits to applications you haven’t authorized.

There’s a clear trade-off here: The more of these checkboxes you deselect, the more you protect your privacy—but the less your friends will be able to interact and communicate with you using applications on Facebook. (For example, they might be prevented from sending you a message or a gift, or dedicating a song to you, from their favorite application.)

It’s a little like making your phone number unlisted—it protects you from bill collectors and crank callers, but it may also make it harder for the people you actually like to give you a jingle.

How to Block Applications You Don’t Want to Deal With

Each request you receive from an application is accompanied by a Block This Application link. Clicking Block This Application prevents persistently annoying applications from contacting you or accessing your information.

The Blocked Applications area on the Privacy Settings > Applications > Settings page shows a listing of all applications you’ve blocked so far. You can click the “remove” link next to an application’s name to take it off the blacklist.

How to Block Application Requests from Specific People

Just as you can block applications you don’t like, you can also choose to ignore all invites from particular friends who send you requests you’re not interested in. Each request is accompanied by an Ignore All Invites From This Friend link. Clicking it means that in the future you won’t receive any requests from that friend.

Any friends you’ve chosen to ignore invites from will be listed on the Privacy Settings > Applications > Settings page. You can click the “remove” link next to any person to take them off this list and restore their ability to send you application requests.

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