Don’t let Facebook’s design changes trick you into sharing more info

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While a smidgen of lipstick won’t make a pig win any beauty pageants, some design changes may affect how easily you hand information and control over to Facebook apps.

As guest writer Avi Charkham points out in a post on TechCrunch, the launch of Facebook’s new App Center brought a redesigned app permissions page. While more visually appealing — though this is a matter of opinion — the new design bring some pesky changes that could trick you into exposing more personal info or granting more control to apps than you realize.

For example: The old app permission request page offered two buttons — “allow” and “don’t allow — while the new one simple has one button (something along the lines of “play game”). This leaves some users unaware of the fact that they’re about to offer an app access to information or the ability to post on their behalf. Of course, someone on Facebook’s side of things could argue that the app permission page does indeed outline exactly which permissions you’re granting an app when you use it, but — as Charkham points out — details are listed in a tiny grey font or only visible when you hover your mouse over a little question mark symbol.

And then there’s what Charkham describes as the “friendly talk trick”:

In the new App Center Facebook chose to hide the term “Permissions”. Instead of showing “Request for Permissions” and a button labeled “Allow” Facebook now sends you to a page full of colorful images with a single button labeled “Play Game”.

So what can you do to protect your privacy and avoid letting some app post on your behalf? Practice constant vigilance, of course!

Keep an eye out for the tiny print, remember that you always have a choice (except when it comes to Timeline, of course), and regularly review your privacy settings to make sure that you haven’t slipped up and had an app take a whole foot when you offered it a single inch.
Want more tech news or interesting links? You’ll get plenty of both if you keep up with Rosa Golijan, the writer of this post, by following her on Twitter, subscribing to her Facebook posts, or circling her on Google+.

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