Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook's Auto-Sharing And What It Means To You

Facebook announced many changes last week, and over the weekend the chatter around the web and in the real world has focused on the privacy implications and information overload from their "auto-sharing" feature. There are many services like Spotify, Nike+ GPS, Foodily, and Words With Friends that are using this enhanced sharing. Lets take a look at what is going on and dispel some myths.

The one item that really needs to be clear to everyone is that you are in full control of what is shared, and who sees what is shared, on Facebook. The sharing is not automatic and needs to be specifically approved. With these new apps that connect using the Open Graph (Facebook's enhanced sharing protocol) there are new line items on the approval screens that we have become accustomed to. There could be new little check boxes to either check or uncheck, so be sure to read everything when connecting a Facebook account to an application.

You will see new questions about adding the activity to your timeline which encompass the news feed and ticker. This is where you approve/disapprove the apps access to share the activity. If you do share your activity you can further control who sees it through the privacy settings. The traditional public, friends, and friend of friends settings can be used as well as the lists and individual people, the option is even there to hide it from specific friends or lists. You have total control!

If you need to change your current settings head over to the privacy settings, edit settings for apps and website, edit settings for apps you use, then find the specific app and click edit. Once in there you are able to remove specific functions of it, change the overall viewing privacy, or completely delete it. If you want to take it off your new profile, once those are publicly launched, you can hover over it and select "remove from favorites" from the drop down menu.

On the receiving end, seeing all these updates can be just as annoying as the games. Luckily you have the "hide all by ..." option for these as well. I hope this clears up some of your questions and concerns. If not, please leave a comment below with your question.

Knowing what you know now, this video isn't so scary: