Tech Tips

How to remove apps from Facebook for better privacy

Facebook may be a fun and easy way to stay in touch with friends and family and to catch up with the latest news and trends. However, using Facebook also means giving up your privacy and handing over your data to third-parties. Whenever you log in with Facebook on another app or website, you are sharing data. The apps and websites that you use and that you connect to via Facebook, connect to the popular social media platform and allow it to get even more of your data. It provides a simple login option, but also lets the app developer access some user data. An app that is authorized through Facebook (even if it is only once) keeps this authorization until you remove the permission. If you haven’t gone through the list of apps that you have authorized to connect to your Facebook profile, maybe it is time that you do it. It is likely that you will find a large list of apps that you no longer use and that are still collecting your data.

Deleting Facebook apps

To improve your privacy, you can remove apps and edit their permissions following the below steps.

  1. Open Facebook in a desktop browser and then click the drop arrow that is located at the top right hand corner.
  2. Select Settings and then Apps, on the left hand side of the next page. You will see a list of apps that are connected to your Facebook account.
  3. If you don’t want to delete the app but want to ensure that there are some limits on the information that it can access, you can edit the permissions. To do this, click the pencil.
  4. When you choose to edit the permissions, a list of permission with checkmarks will appear on the right. It is not possible to remove all the permissions since some are needed to support the functionality of the app. However, you can uncheck some of them without affecting the performance of the app. You will also have the possibility of choosing who can see the app activity and notifications.
  5. Scroll down until you see the “Learn more” section. There you can find the app developer’s contact information and an app user ID. To get your Facebook data removed from the app maker’s servers, you will need to send an email to the developer asking them to do so. Don’t forget to include your app user ID so that they can locate your details.

You will find external links to the app’s terms of use and privacy policy at the bottom of the popup window. There you can find information about how the app uses your data and if it shares it with other parties.

Additional steps

Once you have deleted the apps that you don’t want to use and have edited the permissions of your favorite apps, there are a few more settings that should be adjusted to enhance your privacy.

  1. Scroll down until you see these two boxes: Apps, Websites and Plugins and Apps Others Use.
  2. If you want to remove all third parties from your Facebook account at once, you can click Edit under Apps, Websites and Plugins, then click Disable Platform. Keep in mind that once this is done, there is no way to go back. Make sure that you don’t need Facebook login for those apps.
  3. Click on Edit under “Apps Others Use”. Here you can manage the information that can be collected by third party apps used by your friends. You may prefer not to use Facebook login for quiz apps anymore, but your friends will still be able to do so. When an app is authorized by your friends and they allow the app to see their friends’ list, your data may still be compromised. In this section, you can uncheck the categories that you don’t want the apps used by your friends can access.
  4. If you are concerned about your friends seeing old posts that were made before Facebook launched the audience control option, there is another box that can be adjusted. Click on the drop down under Old Versions of Facebook for Mobile and select your preferred audience. Here you can select who gets to see the post: Public, Friends, Friends of Friends or only you.

How to change app permissions on the Facebook mobile app

Most Facebook users these days, access the social media platforms from their mobile devices. To edit app permissions on Facebook using the mobile app, you can follow the below steps. Just keep in mind that these steps are for Android and while the steps for iOS are similar, there can be some differences.

  1. Launch the app and click on the three horizontal lines on the top right. Scroll down and tap on Private Shortcuts. There you will be able to make change son who sees you posts, who can contact you and more.
  2. Tap on “More Settings” to access app permissions. Then scroll down and select Apps.
  3. You can then modify specific apps, but before that, tap on “Apps Others Use” and deselect everything, unless there are certain options you want to keep. Once you deselect everything there, the apps used by your friends won’t be able to access information on your account. Then you can go back and select the “Logged in with Facebook” box.
  4. You will see a list of apps and websites that are associated to your Facebook account. Whenever you log in with Facebook on any app or site, the information will appear in this section. Tap on each app to adjust its settings.
  5. You can manage the visibility of each app on its respective page. You will also be able to control the information that it can access through your profile and select if you want to allow the app to post to your timeline. The terms of use an privacy policy can also be found there. If preferred you can remove the app altogether.

It is advisable to delete any apps that you don’t recognize and to remove the permissions that are not required from the ones that you will continue using. We also recommend to keep them only visible to you (select “Only Me”), but keep in mind that this would prevent your friends from seeing your Instagram photos for example. Although going through the full list may take you some time, it is worth doing it in order to make your experience on Facebook safer and take back control over your privacy.

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