Facebook: how to control what friends leak to apps about you

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 4, 2013
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Facebook

If you are using Facebook, and who is not really, you are probably aware that what you post publicly on the site is accessible by anyone. That's why you can limit the accessibility of information to certain groups of users, friends only for example or friends of friends, so that information are not just available to anyone who happens to stumble upon your profile.

Things become more complicated when it comes to apps on the social networking site. If you want to run apps, you usually have to allow them to access information about you that they request. This can be your email address, photos you have posted, your friends list or your age and gender.

That's still fairly accessible on the website, as you get a list of all permissions that an application requests on Facebook before it is enabled. In other words, you have to explicitly allow the app before it gets access to the data.

What many Facebook users do not know is that there is another way that part of their personal information may leak to apps, and this time without their doing.

Other user groups may have access to your information. Friends for instance usually have access to most information that you have published on Facebook. If those friends run apps that request information from friends, then your data may leak to apps even if you do not want that to happen.

Facebook has privacy settings for that however that you can modify to make sure that only information that you are comfortable with leak to apps your friends run.

Let me show you how you configure that option.

Apps other use

You need to open the App Settings on Facebook. You can do so either by clicking on the link int he last sentence, or with a click on the small dropdown arrow at the top right of your profile, the selection of settings from the context menu, and the selection of Apps on the page that opens up.

Here you find listed all apps that you are using. You may want to go through the list as well just to make sure that only apps that you are still using are in that list. If you find old apps listed here that you do not use anymore, retract the permissions you gave them and remove them from your profile.

Below that is the "Apps others use" section. Click on the edit button to the right to change the data that apps that others use have access to.

apps others use

All checked items are accessible by apps that your friends run while all unchecked items are not. If you do not want any of the data to be accessible, uncheck all items and click on the save changes button afterwards.

Note that you do not have control over all profile information here. The only option to block all information from being accessible by apps is to turn off the apps platform. This may have consequences though, as you cannot use apps or games anymore, and also cannot use Facebook to log in on third party sites or services.

If you do not do any of those, you may want to consider turning of Platform apps though.

Facebook: how to control what friends leak to apps about you
Article Name
Facebook: how to control what friends leak to apps about you
The guide offers instructions on how to manage the data that friends on Facebook may share about you when they use apps or games.
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  1. rickxs said on August 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    also—- I never us any social media , I block there tracking ware

  2. jasray said on August 4, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Confession–me no use, either–nor Twitter, nor GHang, nor MySpace. I do note, however, a lot of people and companies and web sites do use the networks. Kind of an interesting experiment in virtual friendships.

    Do people honestly think their 500 “friends” on FB are going to show at their funeral? Or come to the wedding? Or have any involvement that requires a commitment beyond a few keystrokes and camera clicks? Sad thought when people answer “yes” to the question.

  3. Ray said on August 4, 2013 at 8:39 am

    @Marco – apps are not that useless on facebook, the main example here would be RSS Graffity which links an RSS feed to facebook :) But games on fb are junk, yes.

    @Martin – thanks for the tip, I really really enjoyed this one and I can’t believe I’ve had my info stolen for so long. We all have a few friends that use tons of useless stuff, I’m really glad my info won’t be available anymore!

  4. Marco said on August 4, 2013 at 7:36 am

    My personal opinion is that FB games and apps are totally useless, a real waste of time, so I strongly recommend to always turn off apps platform on FB!

  5. imu said on August 4, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Martin,today ghacks.net shows mobile mode on desktop by default.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Hm, not for me. Can you clear your cache and try again? Or switch to desktop mode at the bottom if that menu is listed there.

  6. Leaving The G said on August 4, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Just to answer your rhetoric, I don’t use Facebook. Never have, and I don’t think I will.
    I don’t like it. Nice article for those that do, though.

    1. ACow said on August 4, 2013 at 7:13 am


    2. ilev said on August 4, 2013 at 4:13 am


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