One of the biggest challenges Facebook users face in their daily usage of the service involves keeping apps, games and websites that connect to Facebook as a sign-in mechanism from posting random updates, unwanted stores, ad links and other garbage on their Timeline.
For most people, this constitutes spamming because not only do these posts appear on your own Timeline, but also in your friends’ News Feed and ticker.
Unfortunately, too few people are aware that they can easily squelch this spammy behavior with just a few clicks. In this tutorial, we’re going to show you the tools Facebook put at your disposal which were designed to stop apps from posting updates on your behalf.
Whose fault is it that apps post on your behalf?
The burden to control if an app can post on the Timeline falls on the shoulder of the user—you. That’s theory, but in practice the vast majority of Facebook users don’t bother taking the time to review the app install screen.
So, they just click OK and in most cases that means giving an app in question permission to post its activities on your Timeline.
The good news is, Facebook-enabled apps, games and websites are required to post stories within the confines of the audience you choose. And by adjusting your privacy settings, you can completely stop posts from apps, games and websites you use from showing up on your Timeline and other people’s News Feeds.
How to adjust who can see your app activity using Facebook.com
This section details adjusting settings if you already use apps, games and websites which publish stories about your app experiences on your Timeline.
1) Log in to Facebook.com in your desktop browser.
2) Click the triangle icon in the top-right corner of the web interface next to your profile image and click the Settings link at the bottom of the pop up menu.
3) Click Apps in the lefthand column of the Settings menu. You can also open the App Settings link directly.
4) Now click the name of the app.
5) Next to the “App visibility and post audience” heading, use the audience selector to adjust who on Facebook can see that you use this app and the posts it makes on your behalf.
Selecting Only Me will prevent anyone on Facebook from seeing stories that the app publishes on your Timeline in their News Feed. You can also hide an app’s activity from certain people, so they won’t see any app stories in their app ticker.
Some Facebook apps allow you to adjust their visibility and post audience separately from controlling whether or not they are permitted to publish stories on your Timeline.
If that’s the case with your app, untick the box next to Post underneath the This App Can heading. This will stop that app’s posts from appearing on your Timeline going forward.
The This App Can section, when available, makes it really simple to stop spammy app posts from inundating your Timeline while still allowing other Facebook users to see that you’re using an app.
Again, letting an app post on one’s behalf indiscriminately is why many people see unwanted stories, ads and spammy posts in their Timeline, News Feed and ticker.
6) Click Save to save your changes.
Tip: To control what information your friends see and can bring with them when they use apps and games, click Edit below the Apps Others Use section, uncheck the info you don’t want to share and click Save.
To permanently prevent any apps or games from receive your information when your friends use them, turn off Facebook’s integration with apps and games by following the instructions provided in the next section.
How to disable Facebook integration in apps, games and websites?
1) Log in to Facebook.com in your desktop browser.
2) Click the triangle icon in the top right corner of the web interface and then click Settings.
3) Click Apps in the left menu.
4) Below Apps, Websites and Plugins, click Edit and then Disable Platform.
Disabling Facebook’s integration with apps, games and websites has the following effects:
- You won’t be able to log into apps, games and websites using Facebook
- You may also lose information such as your favorite places or high scores in games, and won’t be able to recover this data at a later stage
- Apps or games you’ve logged into using Facebook will be removed
- Posts by apps or games will be removed from your Timeline
Disabling Facebook platform integration is a drastic step so do weigh pros and cons before clicking that button.
Can I see all app posts in one place?
You can see a detailed history of all the posts apps have made on your behalf in your profile’s Activity Log section. This is the best place to identify apps that have been spamming your Timeline, and then you can adjust their settings.
Activity Logs are private—other users cannot access yours. In the Activity Log, you can also remove specific past app stores from your Timeline.
How to remove past app posts from your Timeline
1) Log in to Facebook.com on your computer.
2) Click the triangle icon in the top right corner and select Activity Log.
3) Click All Apps in the left menu.
4) Click the pencil icon next to the app story you want to remove.
5) Select Hidden from Timeline to remove the post from your Timeline or select Delete to remove the story entirely from your Timeline, Activity Log and Facebook.
Best tip: control app privacy when you first use an app
For new apps you add on Facebook, or when you log into another website such as Pinterest with your Facebook account for the first time, you’re wholeheartedly recommended to adjust your privacy options right on the app install screen.
This screen makes it clear what private information an app wants to access and the types of activities it wants to publish on your behalf. It’s certainly better to limit app activity right there and then than sift through app posts in the Activity Log later.
If you like this tutorial, check out our Facebook how-to archive.
Submit your how-to suggestions at [email protected].