facebook-logo.jpg
(Credit: ZDNet)

That Facebook app or game you just installed may be cool or fun. But it may also be grabbing some of your profile information, including your email address, photos, and a list of your friends. How can you stop it in its tracks?

Facebook faced a privacy scandal earlier this year when news broke that it allowed consultancy firm Cambridge Analytics to scoop up the data of millions of users without their permission. The social network has since tried to clean up its act by imposing new guidelines on how and what data app developers can obtain from users. But it's still up to each Facebook member to control his or her own privacy, with a special focus on apps that can collect certain information.

SEE: How to update your security and privacy settings on Facebook

The strategy for dealing with unwanted or intrusive apps is three-fold:

  1. Remove any apps you no longer use or need.
  2. For apps you still want, limit the type of data they can collect.
  3. For apps you've used and have removed, you can ask the developer to erase any profile data it has stored about you.

Let's check out all three steps.

First, open Facebook. Click on the question mark icon on the top navbar and select Privacy Checkup. Click Next for the first section for Posts. Click Next for the second section for Profile. At the third section for Apps and Website, select any apps and games you no longer want. Click Finish.

A message pops up telling you that the apps may still have info you previously shared but can't make additional requests for private info. Check the option to delete all posts, photos, and videos these apps may have published on your behalf if you want to remove all traces of the apps from your Facebook timeline. Click Remove. Finish and close the Privacy Checkup.

facebook-apps-privacy-checkup.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Next, click on the Down arrow next to the question mark icon and select Settings. At the Settings screen, click on Apps and Websites. Here, you can also check and remove any app you no longer need. If you'd like to keep a certain app but want to limit the data it collects, click on the "View and edit" link for that app.

facebook-apps-settings.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Review the settings. Deselect any information you want to prevent the app from gathering, such as your email address or your Friends' list. Click Save. Repeat that process for any other apps.

facebook-apps-view-and-edit.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Finally, you might want to contact the developer for apps you've removed to request the removal of any profile data that's already being stored. To do this, click on the Removed section to view all the apps you've removed. Click on the View details link for the specific app.

facebook-apps-removed.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Click on the link to contact the developer to find out how to request that your data be deleted.

facebook-apps-contact-developer.jpg
(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter for all the latest app news.

Takeaways

  1. To protect your privacy, remove Facebook apps you no longer use or need.
  2. You can delete an app, restrict the data collected by an app, and ask the developer to remove any data that's already been gathered.

Also see

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."