Last week Facebook announced its new “Open Graph” application which they call “Instant Personalization.” In our understanding, this is going to work much like amazon.com where once you log in to Amazon it shows titles and products you may be interested in based upon past purchases. The idea is that users will want a personalized web experience so only content that matches their past likes will come up first.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you would like a more personalized experience than this will be great for you. The downside is, this is an application and can collect personal information about you via the application or if your friends authorize the application it may collect information that way as well. For now, only 3 sites, Yelp.com, Pandora.com, and Docs.com have permission to do “instant personalization” in a beta test.
How do you turn off the personalization? You can go into your privacy settings >application and website settings and turn it off by unchecking the “allow” button. In our experience, this does not block the application from collecting information about you. You must go to the actual page and turn it off. These three sites come up with a bar on the top saying “Hi Kathryn, Docs is using Facebook to personalize your experience. Learn More – No Thanks”
You can, however, decide what applications share about your personal information by going to the privacy settings >> applications and websites >>what your friends share about you and edit the settings. Uncheck any information you do not want shared.
You can also prevent information from being shared by going back to all of the privacy screens and make sure that none of your settings are set to “everyone.” Facebook says:
What you share when visiting applications and websites
Applications you use will access your Facebook information in order for them to work. For example, a review application uses your location in order to surface restaurant recommendations.
When you visit a Facebook-enhanced application or website, it may access any information you have made visible to Everyone as well as your publicly available information. This includes your Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages. The application will request your permission to access any additional information it needs.
What is the bottom line? Make sure your privacy settings are configured properly and do not share any information that you may not want accessed by applications. It is not necessary to divulge all of your personal information on Facebook.