I’m probably not the only one who gets invitations to sign up for Facebook applications. There are tons of them, and I know I’ve opted out of almost all of them that have come my way. There were a couple I signed up for before things really exploded, since I’ve been on the site for awhile, but since that time I’ve been reluctant to add many of them.


by Beth Kanter

The reason for my worry? I don’t like when an application is ready to load and it gives you all those disclaimers. The first one is always that it’s an independent application and has nothing to do with Facebook. I’m not sure I like that, but I guess it’s the same thing Apple tells people who have the iPhone about their applications. Sure, they’ll allow it to be used but if anything goes wrong they absolve themselves of any blame. I don’t quite like that, but we’ll move on.

The second thing is that the programs all say they’re going to access every single thing you have on your Facebook page. That’s bothersome to me, moreso than anything else, because they also let you know that they might share that information with someone else. In other words, you sign onto any stupid little game application and you’re basically saying to the world “spam me”.

Not that I really expect all that much privacy from Facebook anymore. Sure, they’ve added filters that allow us to protect some information, but they added those filters after they had already made changes then put your information out to the world, when the backlash came. Not that any of that targeted marketing is working anyway; my page says I’m married and I’m still getting ads for dating services. I also get ads for weight loss, other types of computer games, and strangely enough some kind of special new vitamin water; yuck!

All of this comes up in my mind as I’ve been debating whether or not to allow the upload of one application in particular, that being the Family Tree application. Telling more than I need to, I had pretty much gotten my mind into the reality that I probably was never going to see or hear from most of my family members again after some significant members have passed away, and was surprised when a couple of cousins connected with me on Facebook.

Suddenly family members I knew and didn’t really know were coming out of the woodworks, and then this Family Tree thing came up. Part of me thinks it would be really interesting to load it and see just how I’m related to a few of these people. Another part of me sees it as just another application that’ll get my information and sell it off.

What to do, what to do? Well, I still have lots of time to ponder this one out. How do you handle all these Facebook applications, if you’re on the service? How much do you trust them to do the right thing with your information?

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