Category Archives: Facebook Games

A Dangerous Facebook App

There are thousands of Facebook games and apps, most of them are fun, entertaining and relatively safe. Some aren’t. Here is an anatomy of one Facebook app that we feel is dangerous and sneaky. Use the details in this post to judge other Facebook apps. Hopefully, you’ll be a smarter Facebook user after this.

Here’s the scenario. You get a request from one of your friends:

Photo of App Request
Seems like a simple request, one of many you probably get each week.


This request looks innocuous enough, right? Just wait till you accept. Let’s see what happens then.


Photo of App Invitation 2
Oh great! You’ll never forget another birthday. Hmmmm.


The nastiness begins as soon as you click ‘Go to App’. The screen will flash then, all of a sudden, you’re not in Kansas (Facebook) anymore.

Photo of App Invitation 3
Are you still on Facebook? What’s with all the ads?


You were on Facebook, right? Suddenly, you’re not. Every other app leaves the Facebook name up at the top. This tricky app doesn’t. Lots of ads but no way to get back to Facebook. When you see this, you should stop immediately. An app that takes you away from the relative security of Facebook is trying to trick you. Watch out for this.

Read the page carefully. This app will add your friend’s birthdays, see the check mark beside number 1? It will also send you birthday reminders, see check number 2. Lastly, it will kindly accept requests on your behalf, check number 3. Conveniently, they’re already checked for you. (That was sarcasm, in case you missed it) What do you do now?  Run!

If you click the word Continue, here’s what you get:

Photo of App Invitation 4
We’ve blacked out the names for privacy.


Depending on the number of friends you have, you will get a page like this for every 49 names on your list. If you choose to Cancel this prompt, another 49 names pop up. But wait! What is that check mark down at the bottom? This one:

Photo of Game Invitation 5
If you don’t uncheck the box, this app will send out requests any time it wants to.


Do you see how devious all of this is? Do you see how rapidly you’d become very unpopular on Facebook?

We think that you’ve got the general idea here. This is a pretty sick app, not in a good way. When you come across something like this, warn your friends and immediately delete it from your app list. We’ll show you how to do that next time.

Thanks for reading!

Facebook Game Privacy

Most of us like to play some of the games on Facebook. If you read our last post, you’ll know that you don’t have a lot of privacy when you play these games. We’ve recommended using a dummy account for games but that’s up to you. If you do play games on your main or only Facebook account, here’s how you can adjust a few privacy settings.

1. Go to your Privacy Settings page (top right, click on the little down arrow and choose Privacy Settings.)

2. Look for the words ‘Ads, Apps and Websites’ about 3/4s of the way down the page then click ‘Edit settings’ on the right side.

3. You should be at a page that looks like this:

Photo of Facebook Game Settings    1
Here is where we’ll spend some time.


4. Read the top part of this page. You’ll see why we suggest a dummy account for games. Here is the important part:

“On Facebook, your name, profile picture, gender, networks, username and user id (account number) are always publicly available, including to apps (Learn why). Also, by default, apps have access to your friends list and any information you choose to make public.”

Note that your friend list is available to applications and games, even if it is marked ‘only me’ in your custom privacy settings. We’re not sure why a game has to know who your friends are but, hey, that’s Facebook!

5. In the middle of the page you’ll see a short list of apps that you are using. Not all are shown at once so click the words ‘Edit settings’. The next page that comes up will have a complete list of apps that you have allowed to ‘interact with your Facebook account’. In other words, these are the apps that Facebook has shared your most intimate details with. There certainly are a lot of them, aren’t there? Every web page, every game, every little widget that you’ve added to your Facebook account is there.

6. On the right side of every app, there is the word ‘Edit’. Click that and let’s see what you’re sharing with your friends. This is what Social Wars can see on one of our accounts:

Photo of Facebook Games
We think you should match your settings to these.


7. Every app that you use must be able to access your basic information. This one, Social Wars, says that it has to be able to access your email, too. Not every app requires that but this one does. However, does this Facebook user get emails from Social Wars? No. See down at the bottom where it says ‘When to notify you?’ We’ve set that to ‘Never’.

8. Why cover your Timeline with posts from games? You don’t have to.  There will always be some game posts when you look at your own Timeline but you can hide all of these from your friends. Second up from the bottom is the line ‘Posts on your behalf’. Well thanks, Social Wars, but we don’t want you to post crap on our Timeline. Therefore we’ve set that to ‘Only Me’. Only this Facebook user will see Social War’s posts, no one else.

9. We suggest that you work your way down the complete list of apps and change your settings to match ours. You can, of course, adjust each app to your own level of privacy. It takes time but we think it’s worth it.

TIP: Every time you add a game or an app, you’ll have to change these settings for it, right? Remember that.

10. Lastly, on the far right of each app or game you’ll see a little X. That is how you delete the game or app entirely. If you haven’t used something for a while, get rid of it. Some of these apps are temporary, for contests and so on. There is no reason to give them continued access to your private data, is there?

TIP: Even though you have deleted a game or an app, guess what? They still have all of your data. Look at this warning from Facebook regarding a game, Farmville:

Photo of Facebook Games 3
Oh no! Farmville (and other games) still have your personal data!

See why we suggest a dummy account for games? Does it makes sense now?

Thanks for reading! Questions and comments are always welcome.


Facebook Games and Apps – something to think about

As we all know, Facebook plays pretty fast and loose with your personal information. How fast and loose? Take a look that this notice that popped up when we were removing Farmville from one of our Facebook accounts:

Photo of Facebook Games 1
What? Farmville may still have our data???

Once Facebook has shared your data with Farmville why do you have to go to Farmville to get them to delete it? Wouldn’t deleting Farmville from your Facebook account be sufficient? Looks like it’s not. You have to scramble around to ask a game to delete your own data. All the more reason to use a dummy profile to play games.

If you’re tired of worrying about Facebook sharing your data as you travel around the Internet, try this. Go to your privacy page, top right of any page and click on the down arrow and choose Privacy Settings. Once you’re there, look for Apps and Websites. Click on Edit Settings. Here’s the page that comes up:

Photo of Facebook Games  2
This is where you can change your game privacy settings.

Right now, this user has allowed 28 games or applications, including websites, access to their personal information. In the last few days, 5 apps/games have accessed that information. (We’ll show you how to limit some of this access in a later post.)

What if all of this third party sharing is not for you? From the looks of this page, Facebook is sharing everything about you with everyone. Lets change that. In the middle of this page, look for this:

Photo of Facebook Games  3
The highlighted words ‘Turn off” will stop the sharing.


If you click on the words ‘Turn off’, none of your personal information will be shared with apps or games or websites outside of Facebook. The upside is that your data is substantially more private, the downside is that you won’t be able to play games or interact with websites the way you did before. Depending on who you are, this could be a good thing. Here’s what you see when you click on those words:

Photo of Facebook Games  4
The warning is self-explanatory.


One click and you’re done. None of your games will show up on your Facebook page, your notices won’t include game updates or requests and you won’t be hounded to ‘Sign in with Facebook’ when you travel around the Internet. If you don’t like this, head back to the same page and ‘Turn on’ what you just turned off. Or, you could just play a game. Read the next tip.

TIP: Even though you have turned off Apps, Plugins and Websites and received the dire warning posted above, Facebook does not warn you that your privacy is being invaded the next time you play a game. Read that again, we’ll wait. 

Facebook is eager to warn you when you turn off Apps, Plugins and Websites, right? It’s curious that there is no warning when you turn this on, isn’t it? All you have to do is play a game, even a game that you had been playing before you turned this off, and everything is back to normal. Your personal data is being shared outside of Facebook all over again.

Facebook is full of tricks and missteps, isn’t it? It’s like walking in a minefield blindfolded sometimes. We strongly suggest a secondary, anonymous account when playing games and ‘liking’ web pages. You never know when something you’ve done on Facebook will come back to haunt you later on. Use one account for friends and another for everything else. Using two browsers on a modern fast computer is simple and saves time logging in. Keep your main account on Chrome and your play account in Explorer, example.

Next time, we’ll tell you how to adjust your app and game settings to protect at least some of your privacy. Stay tuned!

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Stop Game Updates on Facebook

Admit it. Some of your friends are pests, right? They play too many games on Facebook and you get all of their annoying game updates. Your Facebook page is spammed with these continuous and obnoxious bits of junk. Here’s how to block these updates before they reach your Facebook page.

1. Here’s an example of the kind of update we’re talking about:

Photo of Facebook update
An update from The Ville.


2. Up on the top right of this person’s game post, look for the little down arrow icon when you hover your cursor (mouse) over that spot. Here’s what we mean:

Photo of hidden menu
Hover then click the word Hide…


3. The word ‘Hide’ has three periods after it. This means that there are some choices available after you click Hide. You are hiding this single game update but Facebook allows you to hide more than that. Here are the choices:

Photo of other selections.
OK, the story is hidden but do you want to hide everything from The Ville (yes, if you don’t play it).


4. The single post is hidden now and all of the updates from The Ville are hidden too, as long as you click Hide all stories from The Ville. But what if that one friend plays a dozen or more games? Let’s hide every game update from this person. Click on ‘Change what updates you get from…’ :

Photo of menu to hide different updates from a Facebook friend.
Deselect Games and anything else that might spam your news feed.


TIP: We were having a problem with one particular Facebook game, Slotomania. No matter what we did, we kept getting updates on ‘So and so ‘likes’ a post made by someone else about Slotomania. Even though we hid all updates from that one game, we kept getting what looked like updates. Only when we deselected ‘Comments and likes’ did we actually stop those annoying posts. Unfortunately we don’t get any of that person’s likes, either.

Hopefully this post will help you clean up your newsfeed. Questions or comments are welcome.

Thanks for reading!

Block Facebook Game Invitations

Facebook game invitations are frustrating, aren’t they? If you don’t play Facebook games, these invitations are no different than spam. Here’s how to stop them. Actually, there are two ways to do this. You can block the app itself or you can block that pesky friend or relative who just loves to send you Facebook game invitations. You decide how you want to do it.

1. Head to your Facebook Privacy settings from any Facebook page. Top right, click on the down arrow and choose ‘Privacy Settings’.

2. This is what you will see next:

Photo of how to Block Facebook Game Invitations  1
Look for ‘Blocked People & Apps’ at the bottom then click on the blue ‘Manage blocking’


3. Click on the blue link at the bottom right, ‘Manage blocking’. This is what you’ll see next:

Photo of how to Block Facebook Game Invitations 2
You have a choice here. Block the person or the app. You decide.


4. Decide if you want to block app invites from that pesky friend or relative or block that stupid game that you hate. We would recommend blocking the person(s) since there are always new apps/games on Facebook. You can also block event invitations here. That’s handy if you follow someone who’s always throwing a party or some art event that you’re not interested in. All of these settings can be undone, of course.

Thanks for reading!