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How to keep Facebook apps from accessing your data

Don't want developers to have your data? Here's how to get it removed (and make sure it's gone) today.

facebook-logo

Disconnecting an app from Facebook is only your first step.

Alina Bradford/CNET

As Mark Zuckerberg testifies at the joint committee hearing questions about your own personal privacy on Facebook have probably come to mind  After it was recently revealed that Cambridge Analytica obtained misappropriated personal information from of up to 87 million people Facebook users, proactively protecting your data is more important than ever. 

In a post on Facebook April 4, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would make app permission settings on Facebook easier to find and use. Those changes, however, aren't expected to be implemented until some time over the next month. In the meantime, here's the best way to manage app permissions on Facebook.

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Stop apps and clean up your data

Revoking an app's permission to your data is a simple process, even if it can be a bit tedious. All you need to do is delete it.

People are being alerted at the top of their newsfeed if their information was shared with Cambridge Analytica. You can click on this notice to access information about the apps that shared your data. Facebook will have banned these apps already, so now you just need to focus on the apps you don't use.

facebook-data

Information on apps that shared data.

Alina Bradford/CNET

There are two ways to remove an app from your Facebook account. You can do it on the desktop site or on the app. However, removing an app doesn't ensure that you're data will be removed from the developer's database. You'll need to contact the developer and you can only do that through the desktop site.

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Facebook apps on desktop.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Here's how:

  1. Go to your Facebook account.
  2. Click the down arrow on the top toolbar and then Settings.   
  3. Choose Apps
  4. Hover over the app you want to get rid of. 
  5. Click the X icon.
  6. A popup will give you information on how to contact the app to remove your data. After noting information, click the Remove button on the popup.

Now that the app is deleted, you'll need to be sure to follow up with the developer to get your data removed. Sometimes a message to the app is all that's needed, other times you will need to go to the app's website to fill out a form.

How to stop using all the apps

You can also turn off apps wholesale so you never have to deal with this again, but it comes with a price. You won't be able to share posts from apps, play a lot of the games provided by Facebook and the photos you published to your timeline using apps may be deleted.

If the consequences are okay with you, go to the app page again and go down to Apps, Websites and Games and click Turn Off. Remember, this won't remove your data, but it will prevent apps from collecting from you in the future.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published March 20, 2018 and has been updated.

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