Granting access to Facebook apps

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Offline williamkidd

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Granting access to Facebook apps
« on: March 18, 2009, 10:56:59 PM »
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Allow Access?

Allowing Causes access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends' info, and other content that it requires to work.

All of you that have been using Facebook have probably seen this question at some point as it appears when you run an application. This has concerned me since the first time that I saw it because it is so vague and, at least the way that I am reading it, grants the application's developer/owner access to all of your posted information. As far as I can tell there is no way to see what information is being used by the application that is requesting access. If it's a legitimate application then there is probably no problem but what happens if you click on a rogue app? I believe that the way that I have my profile set up that only my Friends (and possibly their Friends) can see my information. Facebook is set up like that by default.

For example, I have been receiving messages on the My Calendar page that says (insert name here) has requested that I take an IQ quiz. The names change based on the names in my Friends list. I'm guessing that the quiz is able to access the names because I allowed the My Calendar app at some point, although I don't remember specifically doing so. I did click on the quiz request at one point, before I noticed that it was randomizing names, and was met by a Web of Trust block page (a page that pops up with a warning about the site that the user is trying to access). So instead of saying "Yes, I'm a dummy" and having it proceed to the page, I decided to look at the WoT information about it. It appears that some people have been asked for their phone number during the quiz and have ended up being charged around $10 per month on their phone bill. As I said, I didn't take the quiz to find out if it asked for the phone number or if it warned that it would charge someone but if it hadn't been for WoT I probably would have clicked happily through and taken the quiz. However, if it did ask for my phone number it wouldn't have gotten it.  :)  I wouldn't be surprised though, if someone had their phone number listed in their profile, to see a program pick up that information from the profile because after all the user has granted access, right?

The funny thing about it is that many applications probably have that information already. Why? Because of the way that the warning is worded: "access will let it pull your profile information, photos, your friends' info". So even if I don't allow access to a program then the application can still get my information if one of my friends allows access. Something doesn't feel quite right about that.

I've been looking through some of the information in Facebook Help to see if it covers this but haven't run across anything yet so I thought it might make for a good topic here. Am I being overly paranoid or is this something that all FB users should be concerned about? Just in case, I'm thinking about getting some tin foil so I can make one of those hats.  ;D
Penny, everything is better with Bluetooth. - The Big Bang Theory

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Offline Bugbatter

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Re: Granting access to Facebook apps
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 11:12:08 AM »
No, you are not being overly paranoid. I've been concerned about that as well, and always ended up backing out of most applications when I saw that. Thank you for sharing the additional information.

This is a public forum, l so I am going to link to this thread and post it on my Wall.
I wear my helmet whenever accessing Facebook.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2009, 11:50:20 AM by Bugbatter »

Microsoft MVP Consumer Security 2006-2016
Microsoft Windows Insider MVP 2016-

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Offline williamkidd

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Re: Granting access to Facebook apps
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2009, 12:23:55 AM »
That's the same thing that I've been doing, backing out of the applications (at the Grant Access window). The only one that I've granted access to is My Calendar mostly because everyone else that I know has granted access which makes my not granting access a bit moot (based on the wording that I mentioned). I looked into those IQ quizzes some more and will post on that shortly.

Are the tinfoil hats going into production?  ;D
Penny, everything is better with Bluetooth. - The Big Bang Theory

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Offline Bugbatter

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Re: Granting access to Facebook apps
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2009, 12:40:59 PM »
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Are the tinfoil hats going into production?
Mine is a home-crafted model because of the caveat "BEWARE OF COMMERCIAL AFDBS" regarding backdoors and pinholes: http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

Microsoft MVP Consumer Security 2006-2016
Microsoft Windows Insider MVP 2016-