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News & Features | Jan 13th, 2012

Clean Up Your App Permissions in 2012: The Social Media Privacy Report

Jillian Ryan

Social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (to name a few) become more robust when users allow applications to have access to their account. For example, on Facebook when you play Words with Friends, or on Twitter when you want HootSuite to access your tweets, you are giving a third-party the right to see your data and information. We all do it (I know I do!) and sometimes we need too. I, personally, always say to myself that after I done with the app I will revoke the permissions away. And then... I forget.

Just after the New Year, I came across this great (and amazingly simple) new site called MyPermissions.org. Basically, the site has the link to the app permissions page of eight of the most-used social sites and services on the web: Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, DropBox, Instagram and Flickr. With one click a user can see what kind of access he has given third parties on each of these sites. I cleaned up my Facebook first and was surprised to learn that a program that has been defunct on Facebook since my college years, Bumper Stickers, still had permissions to my data after 6 years! (No good!) I then revoked access to more than 20 other applications that I was not using.

Using MyPermissions is easy since it essentially just a bookmark to the permissions pages that are really hard to locate normally. Also, thankfully, accordingly to Naked Security , “MyPermissions doesn't ask for your personal information or login details, thank goodness. Otherwise, it would be a phishing goldmine.”

Creator Avi Charkham was also smart enough to offer an If This Then That (ifttt) recipe to remind you monthly via email so you clean up your app permissions regularly.  According to Mashable the process only takes 2 minutes, so have a look to ensure your privacy and security on social media sites.

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