Category Archives: Facebook Tricks

Sneaky Facebook Apps – Limit their snooping

Facebook has made it very easy, almost too easy, for users to add apps to their profile. As you know, many apps hit you up even when you’re quietly surfing around outside of your Facebook profile? Want to comment on something? Sure, just let this app access  your Facebook account. Want to sign a petition? Easy! Just give us clearance to snoop around your Facebook profile. Before you let apps access your data, you’d better find out what kind of things they can see. You might be surprised at the extent and the duration of this access.

1. From any page on Facebook, click on the tiny icon on the very top right, it looks like an arrow pointing down, and choose ‘Settings’ on the menu that pops out:

Photo of Sneaky Facebook Apps   1
Settings is where we’re headed.












2. Next, look for the word Apps on the left side. Click on it:

Photo of Sneaky Facebook Apps   2
‘Apps’ is next.












3. The next part is a bit tricky so read this carefully. Facebook only shows you the most recent apps that you’ve used on the Apps menu that comes up. What you’re going to do here is to edit all of your apps, once you see how to do it, but note that you have to click on ‘Show All Apps’ down at the bottom to access the full list of ones that you use. For now, click on the word Edit on any app that’s on this page:

Photo of Sneaky Facebook Apps   3
Some apps are here, including games, but more are hidden. Make sure you edit them all. 











4. It doesn’t matter which one you choose but click Edit on one. Here’s what you see next:

Photo of Sneaky Facebook Apps   5
You might be surprised at everything a Facebook app says that it needs.










5. Surprised yet? Apps need to use just about everything, at least they say they do. You can change the visibility, remove the ‘posting on your behalf’ ability and change when the app notifies you. We have ours set to ‘Never’. You can also see when the app last accessed your data. Make sure you are comfortable with all of this ‘information sharing’ before you click Close at the top. If you’re not comfortable with it all, maybe you should remove the app. Click ‘Remove app’ to see what surprises lurk behind that link:

Photo of Sneaky Facebook Apps   6
Did you think it would be that easy? It seems that apps may keep your information even though you have deleted them.








Can you see why we’re concerned about these seemingly simple apps? Not only do they tell you that they require access to all of your personal information, they keep this data even after you remove their permissions. Think about it. Facebook collects your personal details and markets this data to many different kinds of apps. Something that seemed fun and innocent at the time has suddenly changed its tone, hasn’t it?

We hope that we’ve opened your eyes a bit about Facebook’s apps. Share this with your friends and family. There’s no reason why you should feel obligated to share your personal info with anyone you don’t know. If you’re hooked on the games that Facebook offers, think about what the games get out of it all. They’re free, right? Maybe, just maybe, the games take your personal data and fine tune the ads that you see on their pages. Your personal details are helping the apps, not you. We suggest that you create a totally fake Facebook account just to play games. Let your friends know that it’s you and play away all day, free from sharing your personal details with strangers.

Thanks for reading!

(Just so you know, if you want to comment here, you don’t have to sign up through Facebook. We do ask for an email address but you can use a fake one, we will never know. Your email is never shown to anyone. We only ask for it in order to send you a personalized response. This response is automatic, we don’t actually use it ourselves. Also, liking our Facebook page doesn’t require any data sharing. We get a notice that you’ve liked our page, that’s it. All we can see is whatever information a stranger sees when someone searches for you. We cannot access any other information than that, nor do we want to.)

 Computers Made Simple on Facebook. 



Use Your Facebook Privacy Settings – or lose them completely!

At some point last year,  Facebook users who hadn’t changed their search privacy settings lost the ability to change them at all. As of yesterday, October 10, 2013, all Facebook users lost that privacy feature. Why? Because Facebook arbitrarily changes these settings to benefit themselves, not their users. Here is what they have to say about it:

Reminder: Finishing the Removal of an Old Search Setting

Read over Facebook’s rather lame reasoning for this action. What’s the next thing that Facebook will change? We suspect that, unless you have set your post/status/photo settings to anything other than ‘everyone’, everything you post on Facebook will be just that, open to everyone. Every photo, every comment, every status update will be wide open to both people you know and millions upon millions of people you don’t. Change your settings now before you lose them completely.

On the page linked above, you should read the section about limiting your past posts. Here’s a graphic that they use:

Photo of Facebook Limit Past Posts
This is a way to set all of your past posts to Friends Only or Friends of Friends, depending on your preferences.


When you are making a new post, whether it be a status update, a photo/album or something that you’re sharing, be sure to set the privacy level that you feel secure with. Here’s a graphic about how to do that:

Photo of Facebook Post Privacy
Adjust these setting now before you lose the ability to change them at all.


We’ve just read that Twitter is now more popular among teens than Facebook is. Teens, the original audience for Facebook, seem to have moved on, leaving Facebook to their parents and grandparents. You can bet that Facebook will ramp up their privacy changes in the near future to eliminate that privacy altogether. Read through our posts and figure out how to change your settings to match your own level of security. It looks as if those who don’t use the settings, lose them completely. Don’t let this happen to you.


Thanks for reading. We enjoy your comments and questions. Use the form below to let us know what’s on your mind. Better yet, Like us on Facebook and keep up with our posts and tips. Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook



Facebook Caveats – A reminder of what you can and can’t hide

We’re still getting comments about Facebook and its arcane and obscure privacy settings. Not only are they as described, they are also well hidden. Here’s a short set of tips for you:

Things you can’t hide: 

Cover photos are all public, all the time.

Profile thumbnails are all public, all the time.

Mobile albums, the ones you upload from your mobile device, seem to default to ‘public’. You have to change the setting to something else if you don’t want these pics to be wide open to the world.

Mutual friends can’t be hidden. You can hide your complete friend list but NOT mutual friends.

While you can’t hide your ‘About’ section, you can hide virtually all of the details in it.

Summation: Three sections can’t be hidden. These are Mutual Friends, Cover Photos and Profile Photo thumbnails.

Actions you can’t hide: 

Photo likes and comments cannot be hidden. If you like Jim or Jane’s photo, everyone that can see the photo will know it. Ditto for comments. There is no way around this. Like something that isn’t under your control and everyone who can see that ‘something’ will see your like or your comment.

The act of liking a page. While you can hide the fact that you like a page, either by hiding the whole section or by quickly removing the action from your activity log, the initial like might show up somewhere. If the act of liking a page can get you into trouble, don’t like it. Read the next tip.

TIP: Facebook now tells you that “If you hide a section, individual stories can still appear on your Timeline, in News Feed and elsewhere on Facebook.” Change the word ‘section’ to just about anything that you do or share on Facebook and you’ll be well on your way to seeing that virtually nothing on Facebook is private. Even if it is private to your friends and the world at large, it is not private to employees of Facebook. OK?


If joining or starting a group will cause you problems, don’t do it. Group settings are up to the group admin and can be changed at any time. If being in a group threatens your privacy or home life, don’t join it.

The Answer to Facebook’s (Anti)-Privacy Settings: 

Start a fresh, anonymous profile, one that doesn’t reveal anything about the real you, and use it to enjoy everything you can’t hide on your real profile. Keep the new profile open in another browser and you can blithely click like or comment or post anything you want. You can relax and be your real self without harming anyone else. Go for it!

Facebook changes frequently. Keep up with these changes by Liking our Facebook page. Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook

Thanks for reading!


How to Recognize Fake Facebook Emails

In a previous post, we showed you how to cut down or eliminate email notifications from Facebook. That article is here: Stop Facebook Email Notifications  Today, we’re going to show you how to recognize fake emails that seem to originate with Facebook. These emails can be spam or they can be what are called phishing attempts. Phishing is the act of stealing personal information, things like passwords and log-in information, through the use of various devious tricks, usually in email form.

What to look for: 

Facebook usually uses your name in the subject line. Here’s an example:

Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  1
Four emails. Three are real, one is not.

In this photo, we can pick out two real Facebook emails immediately. Why? They used the real name of the person they were sent to, that’s why. That leaves two suspicious emails. Let’s see if we can determine which of these are real.

Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  2
This email has a username in the subject line AND it comes from

When we hover our mouse over one of the two real emails, we see that it really does come from ‘’. Let’s see where the others come from. Resting our mouse over the one with ‘Gina’ in the subject line we see this:

Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  3
First, we don’t know anyone named Gina. Second, check out the email source.

What on earth is ‘’? Obviously a spoofed email address from a non-existent dot com site. That leaves one email that may or may not be from Facebook. It doesn’t have a username in the subject line. Again, hover your mouse over the email to see this:

Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  4
Although there is no username in the subject line, we know this is from Facebook.

Now, we can’t generalize here. Just as the phishing email had spoofed an address, the photo above shows what could also be a spoofed address. We’re pretty sure it isn’t but let’s open it, just in case.


Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  5
Well, turns out that this is really from Facebook because it has the user’s name in it.

What’s in the phishing email? Let’s see.


Photo of Fake Facebook Emails  6
A link to a Russian dating site…maybe. Two other phishing links at the bottom.

When you see something like this, delete it immediately. It’s not the ‘intimatehotdating’ link that is dangerous. That link may or may not be real but the two links at the bottom are very devious. See the ‘.php’ at the end of each link? That’s the giveaway. Should you happen to click on either one, we suspect that some kind of script would run. If you are logged in to your Facebook account, we assume that your credentials could be snagged. We also suspect that these links lead to sites which may install something akin to a trojan that would send the same message to everyone on your contact list.

The solution to all of this is fairly simple. Turn off all of your Facebook notifications. That way, you’ll know immediately that any Facebook emails that you receive are fake. If you are a regular Facebook user, you’re probably on your account almost every day. There’s no need to be hounded by emails about every little thing that you or your friends do there.

Thanks for reading! Questions, comments, suggestions are always welcome. Like our Facebook page to get all of our updates. Here’s the link: Computers Made Simple on Facebook



Summer Reruns – 10 Facebook Tips

It’s late August and very hot here in Toronto. Time for a rehash of some of our most popular Facebook posts, then we’re off to sit poolside with a cool drink and a good book. We hope your summer is going well, wherever you are.

TIP: Each link will open in a new window/tab. That way you can read the post, close the window and we’ll still here here waiting.

1. Here’s how to hide your ‘friending’ and ‘unfriending’ activity on Facebook : Hide Facebook Friend Activity

2. Lost your likes? Here’s how to get them back: Get Your Likes Back 

3. If you want a private profile on Facebook, here’s where you start: How to Hide Everything From Strangers

4.  You can’t hide everything, though. Here’s what can’t be hidden on Facebook:  What Can or Can’t be Private

5.  All about you. This post describes hiding your personal details on Facebook: Hide Everything About You

6. Does everyone need to know who your Facebook friends are? Really? :  Hide Your Friend List

7. You can’t hide your Facebook profile photo..or can you?  Hide Your Profile Photo

8. How many hidden messages do you have on Facebook? Here’s how to find out : Facebook’s Hidden Message Box

9. Tired of game updates and other Facebook ‘spam’? Get rid of the noise! How to Stop Facebook Noise

10. All about Facebook Likes. The Ultimate Facebook Likes Guide



Photo of 10 Facebook Tips
Summertime…and Facebooking is easy, thanks to Computers Made Simple.


Thanks for reading! Like us on Facebook and we’ll like you: Computers Made Simple on Facebook