Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out

Facebook does it again! I see this when I check my page today.

Connect with your friends on your favorite websites.

facebook_privacy

Sounds great. Sounds suspicious. So like a good little librarian I click on the link at the bottom Learn More with “Understand Your Privacy” in small type beneath it. Which takes me to a page telling me how great the new service is.  All the way down at the bottom I see this:

facebook_privacy2

Yes I can easily opt out, not opt in, opt out. Click here indeed!
facebook_privacy3

When I unchecked the box I got this box telling me how sad & lonely my internet experience will be without Instant Personalization.

facebook_privacy4

Except wait, what’s that bit at the end? What the?

Allowing instant personalization will give you a richer experience as you browse the web. If you opt-out, you will have to manually activate these experiences. Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.

When I click on “Learn More” I go to this page, where I finally find

How do I opt-out of instant personalization?
You can opt-out of instant personalization by disallowing it here. By clicking “No Thanks” on the Facebook notification on partner sites, partners will delete your data. To prevent your friends from sharing any of your information with an instant personalization partner, block the application: Microsoft Docs.com, Pandora, Yelp.
http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=17105

Yes you must go to each application and click block.

So to recap to completely opt out you need to

  1. Go to your to your privacy settings ->Applications and Websites and uncheck box at the bottom.
  2. Then click on the links to Yelp, Pandora and MicrosoftDocs.om on Facebook and click on “Block Application”

141 comments

  1. An excellent post addressing a questionable new policy. Thanks so much!

    Like

  2. But how do you block Yelp etc? I’ve been poking around and haven’t been able to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can find links to the applications on the bottom of this page
      http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1068
      under “How do I opt-out of instant personalization?”

      Like

      1. Jennifer · ·

        Great post Bobbi … thank you. As of now, there are three applications, I’m sure more will be added. Will we need to continue to check back and block additional applications?

        Like

        1. I am just going to pay very close attention, and if I see something with “block application”, you better believe I will be checking that!
          People just simply need to realize that, yes, internet is public, but we as users should be able to choose who/what is or isn’t shared. It is just that simple.
          And how is FB a free site? What about all the people that signed up with their pay-pal accounts, and the people that “pay to play” the games and such? How exactly do you think Mark Zuckerberg made THREE BILLION dollars last year? Pure advertisements? I think NOT. He made it off of the over 400 MILLION FB users!

          Like

      2. Andreas · ·

        Followed those 3 links, didnt see anything in their pages that I could block them ?

        Like

  3. Hmm. I unchecked the box as mentioned at the end of your post for #1, but I cannot find those applications ANYWHERE to block them! Any ideas? I went through all options in privacy settings and application settings.

    Thanks for this post!

    Like

    1. Hi Tiff
      You can find links to the applications on the bottom of this page
      http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1068
      under the “How do I opt-out of instant personalization?” question

      Like

  4. Jennifer Rayment · ·

    Thank you so much, great help and excellent instruction!

    Like

  5. Thanks a lot for posting this. Although I’m not surprised at FB messing with privacy stuff, I’m getting really sick of shilling my private info for their profit. I especially like the way they make it sound like it’s for the users benefit…

    Like

    1. I’m sick of it, too, but it IS a free site that we are choosing to use!

      Like

      1. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of what they are doing and speak out if we don’t like it. We are the users after all.

        Like

  6. Thanks so much for posting this! I wouldn’t have thought to block the applications manually. Honestly, Facebook is truly becoming ridiculous. I miss the good old days in 2005 when we had more privacy…

    Like

  7. so for now, it’s just these 3 applications? What happens when they add a new application to this list, that doesn’t exist now? You’ll have no way to know that there’s a new application to go block.

    Like

  8. I can’t seem to find the box to untick in order to opt out of instant personalization. Does this mean I’m one of the lucky few FB missed? Or does it mean it’s only a matter of time before I have to follow this procedure?

    Like

  9. Helen Eagles · ·

    Thanks you so much for this! I am sending this information to all my Facebook contacts. I have been on Facebook for a short time and really enjoy the contact with friends and family, but I do not want the rest of the world to know too much. My local library site is more important than I ever thought. Keep up the good work.

    Like

  10. And you need to do one more thing. See the section “What Your friends can share about you”? Your friends can share things about you that you have already chosen not to share about yourself. Nice. You will probably want to uncheck most of the boxes on that page.

    Like

    1. Jack Thomas · ·

      Where exactly do I find this?
      Thanks

      Like

      1. From the Account menu (top right corner) select “Privacy Settings”. On the next screen, select “Applications and Websites”. You will find the “What your friends can share about you” option there, as it shows in Bobbi’s screenshot above.

        Like

  11. Also note that they may add partners at any time. Users will now need to monitoring the following page for any additions:

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/help/?faq=17103

    Like

  12. christ people. just delete your facebook accounts already.

    Like

    1. some people who cannot get out and socialize becos of whatever is going on in their lives are able to socialize thru facebook. Why should they delete their accounts?

      Whether you are on facebook, myspace, or any other public website or board, its YOU who are responsible for what goes out to the public. So always being aware of what you are doing or agreeing to is part and parcel of that responsibility.

      Many go on sites and post things they shouldn’t on the net. Some who are job hunting find out the hard way, when they don’t get the job cos their employer searches simply by name for anything they have posted, facebook not withstanding. You can pay many a website money to find out someones address, phone number and such.

      Very easy to get without facebook.

      i don’t intend to hide becos there is bad apples out there, i intend to be responsible and not get mad at someone else if i screw up. i don’t see the point of not using a app when i can simply go in my own account and shut down the permissions. No i don’t need someone else to do it..i aint that lazy. Yes it took the whole day to do all 3 accounts for my family. simply use the link that was given afterwards to keep an eye on it…and enjoy.

      Like

  13. fjpoblam · ·

    I did it right away. I logged on and logged off FB, waiting for “new features” to appear, then hopped on their new “options” and dredged down to “Allow” and unchecked. I posted instructions to all my “friends”, and Tweeted, and urge you all to do the same!

    Like

  14. You can always leave Facebook😉

    Like

    1. Don’t I know it!🙂

      Like

    2. Not leave…. Keep the account, disconnect from all friends (sending a nice note explaining why I’m doing this), un-like all pages and groups, block all apps, opt out of everything, turn all privacy settings to “me only.” Keep the account solely for the purpose of NOT being visible. Check in once a month or so to see if there’s anything new I need to block or opt out of. Otherwise, as mentioned, I’ve no idea what anyone else might “share” about me. (The moment I joined I found a group invitation and four friend invitations, so I know that merely staying away isn’t enough to keep my name off the site. I would need to actively scour it.)

      Hasn’t come to that yet, but doesn’t it say a great deal that I’ve even thought about it?

      Like

  15. idogcow · ·

    Looks like right now you have to have your language set to English US to see the Instant Personalization options. English UK users (so far) do NOT see them.

    Like

  16. i guess i don’t get where the victims are, or how anyone’s effected in any way. use fb as a tool if you want to and just ignore whatever cache cash schemes they have. Do you not use google either? this isn’t one of those things where they’re trying to assume ownership of user generated content, which, duh, was crazy, it’s just populating the web, the way that google has with their search etc. i guess i just read from the above that the policy is questionable, that they don’t make it easy to opt out, that privacy is at stake. Can you define the actual dangers of this new system, though? I am interested to hear and open to understanding more, I just don’t get what’s so upsetting.

    Like

    1. Nick, Too · ·

      Hey Nick:

      “i guess i don’t get where the victims are, or how anyone’s effected in any way.”

      It’s AFFECTED dumbass.

      http://learnyourdamnhomophones.com/

      Like

      1. @Nick Too…

        too bad there isn’t a link to teach you the manners your mom should have taught you.

        Like

    2. Any time a user has to Opt Out verses Opt In the practice is questionable.

      Like

    3. It’s intrusive. If I want my friends and acquaintances to know what websites I’ve been visiting or what I’ve been doing (online or offline), I’ll tell them. I don’t want some website–or, worse, a group of websites subject to change at any moment–notifying people of my activity without my specifically requesting to do so.

      Heck, I don’t even want to know as much about my friends’ activities as I might.

      As Bobbi wrote, if users have to opt-out of features that are turned on by default, it’s questionable. That I must not only opt out of Facebook’s new feature but also each of the partner websites–and might in the future need to opt out again when I visit one of those partner sites and it wants to log me into Facebook and notify my friends–is beyond questionable. The question has been asked and the answer is “yes.”

      Like

  17. also, funny that this post publicly tracks back

    Like

  18. I don’t even have an option there to uncheck:

    But I know Facebook is sending out my information, because it is appearing on other sites, like the Globe and Mail newspaper.

    Like

  19. yeah but why the hell do you care anyway? i am really tired reading about people being so paranoid about their privacy. This is change. This stuff is going to happen anyway. Facebook is just the messenger of the day. Tomorrow it will be somebody else. Remember the uproar when Google added Adsense to Gmail? Does anybody care now about Google knowing the contents of one’s personal email or using it? Does anybody remember?
    When writing was invented some people refused to use it because they believed that it would decay the mind, and writing is for lazy people who can’t remember. It’s all the same.
    Let’s face it, this is where we want to go as a society. If you are smart enough, as opposed to being righ or righteous about your privacy concerns, you would just make sure that you improve your personal experience out of all these wonderful things, because pretty soon you would just feel left out.
    Again, remember the people who refused to have a mobile phone, because “I don’t want people to know where I am all the time,” or a Facebook account. They suddenly found themselves behind, not getting invited to events, or getting stood up in meetings because there was no way to inform them.

    Finally, when asked why does he allow himself to use recording equipment developed by “Babylon” and all the culture and modernization that Rastafari oppose, Bob Marley simply replied that the problem is not the metal, it’s the flesh. It’s not Facebook – it’s what YOU do with it.

    Like

    1. Yes, I still care, and I will not use gmail or any other google apps except for maps.

      Like

      1. “Remember the people who refused to have a mobile phone, because “I don’t want people to know where I am all the time,” or a Facebook account. They suddenly found themselves behind, not getting invited to events, or getting stood up in meetings because there was no way to inform them.”

        Remember what people? Perhaps this is the case in your circle. My office mate refuses to have a cell phone or a Facebook account, yet he gets invited to things all the time. I have both, and I’m pretty much a hermit. But that’s because I choose to be. It has nothing to do with what kind of technology I use. I think it would be interesting to do a survey/study (perhaps one has already been done?) on whether those most active on social networking sites are actually the more antisocial in real life.

        But I digress. The issue here is that Facebook has created an extremely complicated layer of privacy settings which most people do remain ignorant of. I say most people because that has been my experience so far. I recently taught a room full of community college students, varying ages and backgrounds, about the new Facebook privacy settings released last December. Turns out over half of them had no idea that anything had changed, a few others knew something had happened but discovered during the presentation that they had been sharing their photo albums with the world when they really didn’t mean to be. Other’s were shocked to find out that they couldn’t hide their profile picture the way could before. Facebook’s continued changes are based on the assumption that everyone has the necessary computer literacy skills to sort through their many complicated layers of privacy, not to mention the assumption that “privacy is dead” and no body cares anymore, which turns out is not necessarily the case. It’s not about being paranoid. It’s more about disagreeing with a business model that only really seems to be serving the interests of a specific portion of society.

        Like

    2. the problem isn’t privacy. the problem is control. Facebook trying to be in control of my data, and in control of whether or not my data is shared with others, and to what degree. Facebook does not have the right to control my data – that’s my right.

      If people choose to be isolated hermits, well, that’s their choice. Maybe some folks prefer it that way. Maybe they don’t, but they still want the choice to be theirs. The problem people have with Facebook is 1) facebook unilaterally defining what is or is not private, what will or will not be shared (data that was originally private when I joined facebook has been released by facebook to the public Internet, with no recourse on my part other than to completely delete my account); 2) facebook being disingenuous about the impact of their changes and the reasons behind them; 3) facebook changing the rules as it goes along, without paying any attention to the users, and offering no option for those who disagree with changes in policy.

      frankly, I’m surprised to hear ANYBODY defending their antics.

      Like

      1. “the problem isn’t privacy. the problem is control.”

        Excellently put!

        Facebook is assuming that we want this feature and is making it complicated to turn it off, instead of letting users decide which features they want to use and which other sites they want to share data with.

        Like

    3. This has to be one of the most insipidly, arrogantly wrong comments I’ve ever read on the internet, which is saying something.

      Like

    4. cornballer · ·

      “If you are smart enough, as opposed to being righ or righteous about your privacy concerns, you would just make sure that you improve your personal experience out of all these wonderful things…”

      OR — You can’t change the fact that I’m going to grope, molest and violate your private data, so just lay back and enjoy it, honey…

      What an idiot.

      Like

    5. @ gal. and the fact that we are pressed into getting mobile phones and social networking websites against our initial will is f-cking creepy.

      Like

    6. yeah i remember Google AdSense.
      And i can opt-out.
      Permanently.
      Easily.
      http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/plugin/

      Like

  20. Facebook says it uses “public information”! So what exactly are you complaining about? The information is already public!

    Like

    1. Facebook has a habit of changing what is public without warning. Additionally there are a lot people who don’t understand Facebook’s privacy settings.

      I’m not sure complaining is the right term, I’m pointing out a situation.

      Like

      1. The problem, Julian, is that “public information” is a term that means very different things to different people — and it means very different things to Facebook than it means to me.

        The vast majority of people I know don’t understand what Facebook considers public information vs. private information, what is shared with friends (or friends-of-friends) and what’s available to applications. I don’t even understand what Facebook chooses to show others about me and I’m fairly savvy — I’ve had to create sock puppet Facebook accounts just so I can regularly check what other people can see about me, as it seems to frequently.

        Zuckerberg has been extremely clear that he’s not a fan of privacy and will continue to erode it whenever it makes business sense to do so, so it’s very important that we whistle-blow whenever changes happen… it’s the only way we’ll keep them honest.

        Like

        1. stormkite · ·

          It’s actually pretty simple and clear.

          If you post it anywhere on the WWW, Facebook considers it public information.

          If you tell Facebook you want it kept private, Facebook considers it public information.

          If it’s been collected anywhere at any time for any reason, Facebook considers it public information.

          If anyone anywhere in the world knows it, Facebook considers it public information.

          If it can be reduced to writing, or if it can’t, Facebook considers it public information.

          If it’s accurate, or not accurate, or utterly made-up and having no discernable relationship to any reality existing in the past, present, or future, Facebook considers it public information.

          and most importantly:

          If it can be sold to marketers, ad agencies, analysts, or anyone else, Facebook considers it public information.

          I think that covers most of it for this go-round, but they’ll probably relax those rules in a week or two.

          Like

    2. Yes Julian, but it’s not like anybody has a clue which information the term “public information” is referring to. “Public information” is a very vague term. Precisely the reason Facebook can tweak things in most unsuspected ways. And this lady here is taking the unusual effort to shed a little light on our big fat complacent ignorance about it.

      Like

  21. Thanks so much for doing the research to get all the details on this! While I agree that what passes as “privacy” is changing and will continue to do so, I think it’s very important that we as individuals continue to have control and manage privacy settings for our own levels of comfort. To me, whether “opt-in” or “opt-out” is less of an issue than having clear and easy access to do so, fully and completely. (And I would much prefer to “opt-in”!)

    Like

  22. I don’t see this instant personalisation option anywhere on privacy settings

    Like

  23. thanks for the instructions! very helpful!

    Like

  24. With all the hostile comments you’re getting, I don’t think you’ve going to have to worry about a lonely, isolated web experience by opting out!

    Peculiar attacks on this one. Some of which I would delete if this was my house!

    Hang in there!

    Like

  25. Bobbi,

    I must say “thanks” to your for pointing this out. I’ve made changes to what parts of my info are shared.

    And I’m honestly quite stunned at the indifference people seem to have about this, and am saddened with the vitriol with which some people have responded to you.

    I am choosing to use FB, but they keep changing how the information I post is shared, without telling me about it. People’s sense of what’s private is changing, indeed, and I’m probably going to retain more of my privacy than other people. And that is my right.

    Like

    1. Thank you Neil. I too am surprised at the people who take issues with pointing out the problems with the changes Facebook is making. They are changing the terms of the agreement in the middle of the game without checking with their users of course there is something wrong with that. Just because I have an account doesn’t mean I should be ok with it or not question their actions.

      Like

  26. Thanks for taking the time to put together this useful information. I find that some of this gets way too complex. Takes the fun out of it for some of us…richer experience indeed.

    Like

  27. mattheww · ·

    I have a feeling we are not out of the woods yet, based on the below quote from the final step. Facebook makes it sound like you block those and you are safe. Which may be technically true TODAY, but it sounds for all the world to me like those are merely the first three of countless apps/sites/etc. that will come to need to be similarly blocked. We’re supposed to keep track of those deals as they happen?

    When a service starts (okay, continues) willfully deceiving, it’s time to go.

    “Then click on the links to Yelp, Pandora and MicrosoftDocs.om on Facebook and click on “Block Application””

    Like

  28. They also introduced an issue at the same time where all of your interests are linked to pages without the users opting in. sigh.

    http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-further-reduces-control-over-personal-information

    Like

  29. Oh, and the wording of

    “By clicking “No Thanks” on the Facebook notification on partner sites, partners will delete your data.”

    makes me think that the partners already have your data. Otherwise the proper wording would be “will not collect your data.”

    Like

    1. In the past year, there have been too many obvious changes going on. They are attempting to fly under the radar with many subtle “improvements”. For those who were concerned about it becoming another “pay to play” membership, they just signed with PayPal….whatever comes of it is up to the imagination.

      In any case, I’ve deleted what I needed to and will be “dumping out”.

      Like

  30. To those who don’t worry about privacy issue: Great! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the new features FB is offering. Some do worry, however.

    Concerned or not, you should be able to expect easy access to control over your personal information and who in the world can have access to it. Opt-out is a slimy tactic, no matter the application.

    Like

  31. Thanks for sharing. I passed along your article to many. I did OK on instructions until you wrote:
    Then click on the links to Yelp, Pandora and MicrosoftDocs.om on Facebook and click on “Block Application”

    Didn’t find links to click block application. I know it’s right in front of me, can’t see it.

    Like

    1. http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1068 (Help Center topic “Social plugins and instant personalization”)

      then click “How do I opt-out of instant personalization?”

      The link show up at the bottom.

      Like

  32. @yagrrb · ·

    What a convoluted process. Thanks for posting this! I’m going to share it with everyone I know.

    Like

  33. Can you provide screenshots to the opt-out links to yelp, etc? I have visited all three sites several times and cannot see anywhere to click. Thank you.

    Like

  34. bobbi, thanks for posting an explanation. i had friends ask me about the opting out today, and i directed them to your post. i also did a screencast to help my friends get int he right place for both steps — that second “block” step is just a bit hidden, isn’t it?? thanks again, for helping us stay on top of our right for privacy!

    Like

  35. Tried to like to this from my facebook status. Get a pop saying:

    Warning: This Message Contains Blocked Content
    Some content in this message has been reported as abusive by Facebook users.

    Like

  36. I’ve got a trail all over the Web for sure – so I’m not really “private” – but I don’t really want to be tracked down by more advertisers or just sort of… random contacts. I like keeping up with some friends and acquaintances on Facebook , so I’d like to stay on Facebook. Why shouldn’t I have some choices about who I contact and who contacts me? I appreciate this attempt to explain those choices!

    Like

  37. You don’t need to go and individually block every single application.

    http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy&section=applications&field=friends_share

    That lets you control what you let your friends share about you.

    Like

    1. it actually says in the FAQ’s to block the applications. [“To prevent your friends from sharing any of your information with an instant personalization partner, *block the application*: Microsoft Docs.com, Pandora, Yelp.”]

      Like

    2. thanx!

      Like

  38. Seriously? Its like they force a change, take it back, and then shove it back a few months later hoping people don’t notice. Why did this shithole of apps and privacy holes replace MySpace? Yeah it was lamer, but I almost never had to wonder what the hell it was doing with my profile. The only issue on MySpace was idiots falling for phishing messages.

    Like

  39. This is getting ridiculous. Facebook doesn’t give a sh*t about our privacy anymore. I’ve installed a browser to use just for facebook and will have been phasing the site out of my life.

    I agree with mattheww tho, this is something we’ll all have to keep an eye on. I’m sure we’ll have to block more apps in the future. There’s a group where we like to keep up with all the facebook privacy issues at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=27233634858

    Like

    1. Jeane · ·

      Surprise- Facebook never gave a $hit about our privacy.

      Like

  40. Janet Templeton-Heise · ·

    Thank you, Bobbi, I have posted a link to your wonderfully clear and concise information to all the family and friends to whom I am linked on FB. Yes, it is a free site. Yes, ANYthing on the internet should be considered “public.” Yes, I know that ANYone who knows how to do it can access my information — but that’s the thing: THEY are digging for my information, I’M not giving it out wholesale. I really don’t like the necessity of having to opt-OUT of having my britches (metaphorically) run up the flagpole: by golly, if I want ’em flying in the breeze *I* want to be the one choosing to do so!!! Thank you. (And I’m trying really hard not to get started on the fact that librarians are a vanishing species in my city (and elsewhere) due to slashes in school budgets on a statewide (Indiana) level. Our children need them. Hack me up a hairball!

    Like

  41. Well put together post, thank you Bobbi!

    This is a lot wider than just Facebook and a privacy complaint has been lodged at the Federal Trade Commission. http://www.sidewaysnews.com/society-business/google-named-privacy-complaint

    IMHO, whether you’re for or against this you should at least be told and given the opportunity to opt out.

    Like

    1. richard · ·

      not opt out, default should be opted out, with option to opt in. “Privacy” policy – this is Orwellian newspeak at it again. Or, in current plain english, a lie.

      Like

    2. Chris: the link you posted does not refer to Facebook at all, only to the Google case (which although also privacy related, is totally separate from this blog’s Facebook issue)

      Like

  42. Weird. My privacy settings had this disabled by default.

    Like

  43. I checked and mine was unticked by default. I suspect this is due to how I set my account after the big opening up of private data a while back.

    Like

  44. Thanks for the info.

    Like

  45. Karisse D · ·

    Hmmm … my box was automatically checked, or “opted-in” I guess. But I didn’t have an option to “opt-out” when I went to each of those pages. Thanks for your post!

    Like

  46. I couldn’t find any place to opt out of Docs, Pandora, or Yelp. There IS an opt-out on Pandora, but it’s to opt out of using Facebook on Pandora, not the other way around. When I clicked on that link, it told me I had to sign in or create an account. So I just closed the window.

    Like

  47. Earl martins · ·

    Hate to drink the Kool-Aid but if Bobbi doesn’t like it she should close her free Facebook account

    Like

  48. I’m beginning to think Facebook is populated by morons. Everyone complains but no one ever leaves. Zuckerborg drones I say. Now us non Facebookers will be able to see your shiny faces everywhere we go. Bet your ass I’ll be right click saving a few of the hotties.

    Like

  49. Just because a service is free doesn’t mean that users don’t deserve some say in how it is operated. After all, if we weren’t using it they wouldn’t be making a dime from the advertising and data sales. Not paying a user fee does not mean we aren’t making them rich.

    Like

  50. Sorry but you’ve misunderstood how all this works, and you’re basically wrong about the implications here.

    When a site adds one of the new ‘Instant personlization’ widgets, a.k.a. Facebook’s social plug-ins, a piece of code called an IFRAME is used, which is basically a whole web page within a web page. So if I’m looking at a movie page on IMDb, there is an IFRAME within the page that is actually a tiny Facebook page. When this is called from Facebook, the URL of the movie page that I’m on is given to Facebook, and then it returns in the IFRAME the number of Facebook users that like it and which if any are my friends. At no point does IMDb know who I am or which of my friends also like the page.

    If I opt out of the ‘Instant Personalization’, the IFRAME simply won’t me personal data about the page concerning me – i.e. it won’t tell me if I or or my friends already like it. However, if I have set my Faecbook privacy controls to allow my ‘likes’ to be publicly shared, it will still tell my friends if they are looking at a page that I have publicly liked. But the owner of the page – IMDb or whoever – still doesn’t get to know that I liked their page, just that someone did (i.e. another number on the total), assuming that my likes are public.

    So it’s correct when it says “your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application”, the ‘their’ being the important word, and to be honest what’s so bad about my friends knowing that I publicly liked a page that they’re visiting?! They are my friends! I publicly liked the page!

    Yes, you can opt out this functionality on particular sites if you really want to, but why are you bothering to publicly like pages on those sites in the first place if you don’t anyone else to know about your action?!

    Like

  51. roni harper · ·

    I don’t see the “links” you mentioned. Maybe I turned them off? How do I get to them to opt out?

    Like

  52. Thanks for the heads up on all of this, Bobbi – great post.

    I think Facebook has already started changing these screens to try to convince people to keep the personalization. Instead of the box on the main “applications and websites” pages, it’s now an “edit settings” box that takes you to a page with more explanation.

    The good news is that I think Facebook has hidden profiles from search engine results by default. I’m sure it’s to encourage users not already on the site to create accounts in order to just search for people, but the fact that the setting is working properly now is new. Plus, you can further narrow your settings so that only your friends (or friends of friends) can find you in Facebook search results. This is a very welcome change in my opinion.

    I’ve written more about this on my blog at http://theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2010/04/24/how-to-use-facebook-and-still-be-completely-private.html.

    Like

    1. I’ve had my profile set to not show up on search results since the last privacy fiasco, I know I haven’t been showing up in search engines for a while now, but I haven’t been testing it so I don’t know if it wasn’t working properly at one point. . There is a “search” section under privacy settings.

      I suspect you are right about the motives of Facebook for doing it, but the results are nice for its users. 🙂 Unfortunately I’m not sure the average user (not us) knows and understands about this or or the other changes Facebook makes. Especially when they are stated as a benefit to the user and complicated to understand and opt out of.

      Like

  53. Thanks for the great article, I have forwarded it to my friends and family as a warning🙂

    Like

    1. You are welcome🙂

      Like

  54. It seems you cannot opt out of all “everyone” sharing of some items:

    “Please note that applications will always be able to access your publicly available information (Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages) and information that is visible to Everyone.”

    Like

  55. Facebook is a partner of Quantcast – http://www.quantcast.com – a web stats and demographics information marketing company. Try visiting the website and noticing how much detailed info they have about their visitors: income, demographics, interests….

    Using quantcast technology, sites can detect changes of visitor behavior between users of the same browser in the same session. When a visitor logs into a facebook page, for example, quantcast instantly learns that the identity of the visitor has changed.

    it’s all “de-personalized” so it doesn’t identify you. But it does share all of your details with partner sites.

    There’s no way to opt out of this participation on Facebook to my knowledge since it isn’t a “privacy” issue.

    Like

  56. […] un botoncito nuevo cuando entramos a su página de aceptar o no aceptar. Lo peor del caso, como lo explica Bobbi Newman en su artículo es que son caraterísticas en las que tenemos que escoger salirnos de ellas en vez de entrar a […]

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  57. […] un botoncito nuevo cuando entramos a su página de aceptar o no aceptar. Lo peor del caso, como lo explica Bobbi Newman en su artículo es que son caraterísticas en las que tenemos que escoger salirnos de ellas en vez de entrar a […]

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  58. […] Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out… Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out | Librarian by Day http://j.mp/b0Bwhf (tags: via:packrati.us) […]

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  59. Bobbi,
    Thanks for the detailed instructions. As for me, I did decided to stop using Facebook altogether. But before I “deactivated” my account, I did the follow:
    – Removed all my friends (to protect them).
    – Changed my real email address to a bogus email I created at Hotmail.
    – Deleted all my pictures, and tagged pictures of me.
    – Changed my address, telephone number, employment information etc (yes, at one point I gave the benefit of the doubt and trusted FB).
    – Waited 4 weeks and only then I deactivated my account.

    The reason why I did that, goes beyond my lack of trust on FB ethics (or lack of). It’s a statement of where I stand when a service like FB makes it so shady/confusing to understand the terms of engagement by an average person. Granted, I consider myself privileged for working with application engineers and learning firsthand what FB is doing/allowing behind the scenes. The majority of the 400M FB users are not following discussions like this one. They simply don’t care. They’re just mimicking a new norm of behavior that started with the Internet, and has been taken to a whole new level by social networks. Just because Privacy is no longer a rigueur, it doesn’t mean we should stop caring.

    Eric Reiss (a friend) told me about when years ago Nokia aware that people were sending SMSs while driving (which is illegal), started to experiment with a steering-wheel input device. Nokia’s design team argued, “Well, people are going to do this anyway, so we might as well make it easier.” Eventually, Nokia had the good sense to drop the project. Just because people do something dumb, doesn’t mean it should be officially sanctioned. If this was a viable argument, a murderer could theoretically defend himself with the following: “Well, people are going to die anyway. So I just helped things along.”

    Blogs post like these might be useful too:
    http://eu.techcrunch.com/2010/04/23/privacy-issues-google-engineers-leaving-facebook-in-droves/
    http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-1004.html#1
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_delete_facebook_applications_and_why_you_should.php
    Not too far-fetched humor: http://gizmodo.com/5523178/facebooks-privacy-changes-get-scary

    At the end of the day, people will do whatever they want to. However I hope to influence one or two around me, and perhaps the ripple effect will do the rest, for everyone’ sake.

    Like

  60. […] The main issue is that Facebook, by default, now opts you in to allowing third party sites access to your social graph. In other words, your friends unknowingly give your information away. […]

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  61. […] Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization […]

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  62. It was a nightmare…I want to all the other sites and I was not signed up for any before. Yelp gave me an error and did not let me break the link with FB…it said it was not available now.

    Corey

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  63. THanks! BTW…I could not get unlinked from Yelp! It gives you an error…”FB is not avail now” or some BS…I sent their info/help email a note to unlink me but did not hear back…anyone exper this?

    Corey

    Like

  64. […] als een gebruiker zelf actie onderneemt zijn de nieuwe functies uit te schakelen. Op sites als deze, deze, deze en deze staan manieren om dat te doen. De strekking van hun advies is: je moet wel erg […]

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  65. […] Personalization has caused some unrest amongst tech savvy Internet users. But what does it do? It basically allows partner sites (currently […]

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  66. […] these partner sites unless you block the application.“  But as Bobbi Newman pointed out in  yesterday’s Librarian by Day post, there were links to these applications.  Now they are […]

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  67. BIG thanx for the opt out privacy setting …
    and also for links for yelp , docs and pandora .
    u r such a big HELP . Thank you ! (“^_)

    Like

  68. Facebook is damn good as a social networking site in many aspects! But I think these privacy settings and other developments they are trying to implement are just some experiments!

    Like

  69. […] without asking them first. Instead, Facebook users are simply opted-in to the new program. Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Out is a very good illustration of the same alarming message I got on this […]

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  70. […] The main issue is that there are concerns that Facebook, by default, now opts you in to allowing third party sites like Yelp to ‘personalise’ your experience, and there are questions about how much information is given away. […]

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  71. […] with some articles about ties to Facebook posts and crime waves and also Facebook’s new non-privacy “privacy” policy, MMG has noticed news feed postings and announcements going down considerably in the last couple […]

    Like

  72. […] are confused or simply ignore them, it seems likely there will be more privacy blowups to come. (Like these.) After all, notes Greg Sterling, with these new features, Facebook will eventually be sitting […]

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  73. […] go have a look at Bobbi Newman’s post — she takes a detailed look at what Facebook is doing with their instant personalization and […]

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  74. […] Librarianbyday.net: Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes… Research source. […]

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  75. […] Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook?s New Instant Perso […]

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  76. […] Librarian by Day | Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes … […]

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  77. Barefootguru · ·

    Awesome, thanks for providing this. I had found the first setting before, but not the individual apps. Hard to believe they make it so difficult to turn off… and what happens when someone writes another info sharing app? I guess we’ll have to block that one too.

    Like

  78. […] screencast videos on how to manage Facebook privacy settings? For starters, make sure to check out Bobbi Newman’s post about […]

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  79. RIM and privacy…

    January 2010 With rising privacy concerns RIM has an opportunity to step up and prove once again that we are the king in secure solutions. Security was always our strong suit and differentiator…….

    Like

  80. drjake · ·

    I followed all the instructions to opt out, both here and at eff.org, about a week ago, yet when i went to the people magazine website today, there was my facebook picture again asking for my comments in the facebook window there! I went back and confirmed it: my options are all set right to opt out, and the 3 applications (yelp etc) are all blocked, yet “instant personalization” is still working! Please advise!

    Like

    1. anonomama · ·

      I am having the same issue. I have fully “opted out” per the EFF and detailed instructions I found online. However, when I followed a link that led to People.com yesterday, there’s my FB icon, in full glory with posts that other friends have made. WTF? I want my privacy back!

      Like

  81. […] the US blogger and librarian Bobbi L. Newman reported, users now have to ‘opt out’ of auto-personalisation settings that allow their friends […]

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  82. A recent Harvard graduate’s thoughts on facebook privacy concerns and how the tell-all generation (people currently between 18 and 29-years-old) is learning discretion:

    http://stevenduque.com/2010/05/facebook-privacy-the-tell-all-generation-learning-discretion/

    Like

  83. Jennifer · ·

    If you thought FB was bad, check out Google Social Search (while you’re logged into your main Gmail account): http://www.google.com/s2/search/social.

    It shows all of your chat contacts to each other (as well as your Google profile connections, but at least you can opt out of that) through your “secondary connections”. You can opt out of the rest, but you can’t opt chat contacts out of social search unless you delete or block them. So, if you want to chat with someone, you give them access to every other person you chat with. Google seems to be aware of this, but does not care

    (Google help page: Check out the help page.: http://www.google.com/support/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=165228 )

    This is unacceptable. Let’s tell the major tech companies that we care about our data and our privacy. Let’s make them make it a priority to respect their users.

    Like

    1. Heather I completely agree with you, I blogged about Google’s Social Circle back in March. Its even worse though you can’t opt out.

      Like

  84. A Better Facebook – a facebook alternative that takes user privacy seriously and will have community-driven features. http://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Better-Facebook/117040771669305

    Like

  85. […] The main issue is that there are concerns that Facebook, by default, now opts you in to allowing third party sites like Yelp to ‘personalise’ your experience, and there are questions about how much information is given away. […]

    Like

  86. […] please be sure to familiarize yourself with Bobbi Newman’s writeup over at Librarian by Day that noted you have to opt out of the setting. If you’d like to do that, you can:1. […]

    Like

  87. […] Protect Your Privacy, Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization […]

    Like

  88. […] as the site Librarian By Day explains, this won’t prevent your friends from sharing certain data about you with those services. And how […]

    Like

  89. […] in the present. One of the top issues being discussed today is Facebook’s privacy and how much information is given away to third party sites without explicit permission. This is so much of a concern that tech geeks […]

    Like

  90. […] in the present. One of the top issues being discussed today is Facebook’s privacy and how much information is given away to third party sites without explicit permission. This is so much of a concern that tech geeks […]

    Like

  91. […] killed my Facebook account yesterday. It felt great. I never wanted one in the first place. Their latest sleight of hand act sounded the death knell for my account, but it clung to life for a couple more weeks cuz my kid was […]

    Like

  92. bw4linux · ·

    If anyone simply read the Terms of Use/Terms of Service, or Privacy Policy when they decide to register with Facebook or a similar website, we wouldn’t have the need for blogs or forums or safety e-newsletters that is seen today. Facebook doesn’t hide the facts, they tell them to you straight. And to sign up for an account a box is checked (or must be checked) stating that you have read and agree to such. Yes, they can be long and seem to take forever to read, but was there any less information to take in when we got our drivers licenses? Don’t we all have to spend years in school to learn everything we use in everyday life? Didn’t our computers themselves come with instruction manuals or aren’t they at least available from the manufacturer? From the time we’re born we are told to ‘follow directions’, ‘do what we are told’, ‘be responsible’, and many times ‘pay attention’. It is no wonder many of our youth are ignoring what they are taught – they aren’t shown any better! That is my opinion…like it or ignore it. Up to you.

    Like

  93. […] in the present. One of the top issues being discussed today is Facebook’s privacy and how much information is given away to third party sites without explicit permission. This is so much of a concern that tech geeks […]

    Like

  94. I was a recent victim of the viral marketing time thief and worse a victim of privacy violation on facebook. I found the flaw in the “event invitation” feature of facebook.

    I wrote more about it on my blog, here, http://www.mattkowalczyk.com/blog/?p=92 but it appears no matter what response you make to an event, your decision is made public.

    Like

  95. What a great post my friend. I am a facebook fan and mostly spend my time playing some games and just talking out with my colleages. Surely, there are so many ways we can use facebook and I really love using it. I hope they have something more new to come for all of us.

    Like

  96. […] –          Protect Your Privacy Opt Out of Facebook’s New Instant Personalization – Yes You Have to Opt Ou…– Librarian by Day […]

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