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Evil, Evil Facebook

Is Facebook Secretly Adding Apps To Your Profile?

When software is secretly installed on your computer without your permision, it's called malware. But what is it when Facebook does it?

What if when you visited certain sites while logged in to Facebook, an app for those sites was secretly added to your Facebook profile? What if you didn't have to have a Facebook window open, and you didn't have to be signed in to the sites for the apps to get installed? What if there was absolutely no notification, and what if there didn't appear to be an option to stop this in Facebook's maze of "privacy" settings?

And, what if three researchers from Macworld actually found that this is exactly what's happening?

The apps appear to be related to Facebook's latest "sharing" features and tools (and by "sharing", I mean, "We'll do whatever we want with your profile and information").

The sites currently leaving this trail all have Facebook integration, and the list includes heavyweights such as the Gawker network of blogs, the Washington Post, TechCrunch, CNET, New York Magazine, and formspring.me.

It isn't known yet what information these apps are pulling from user profiles or feeding back to Facebook, and that's a problem, to say the least. Opting out of the "Instant Personalization" doesn't stop these apps from installing, and removing them requires more than just altering a setting.  

Here's how to get rid of the apps, at least until the next time Facebook pulls a fast one:

  1. Click Account in the top right corner of Facebook.
  2. Select Application Settings from the drop-down menu. The malware new applications should be visible.
  3. Click on the Edit Settings link for one of the malware new applications
  4. You should see a tab called Additional Permissions that has a box that's unchecked by default.
  5. Clicking the X to delete an application will temporarily remove it from your applications list, but it will be re-added as you return to that site.
  6. In order to permanently block an application, you have to click on the Profile link for that application in the Applications Settings window, then click Block Application in the menu on the left side of the app's page.

Is it time to dump Facebook for their repeated violations of privacy, scummy behavior, and relentless pursuit of your personal infomration to make money off of you? If you're still foolish enough to have an account there, I'd say the answer is not just "yes", but "Hell Yes!".

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