Facebook announced yesterday a new Application Settings dashboard which lets users better control how Facebook apps, games, and Open Graph API-enabled websites use their data. The dashboard lets users see exactly when and how their data has been accessed through the Facebook Platform. Users have the option to remove unwanted apps, games, or sites, or revoke persistent permissions such as the ability to post on their wall. This is the most visibility and granular control Facebook has ever granted users over how their data is used by third-party developers.
Facebook’s blog says the Application Settings dashboard will go live next week, though users can currently find it at the URL http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=applications. Upon visiting, users will see a list of all the apps, games, and websites they’ve installed, or accessed through Facebook Connect, the Graph API, or Instant Personalization. They are ranked by the latest to access a user’s data.
When clicked, an entry on the list expands to show when a user last logged in, which permissions a user has granted, and what data was last accessed. For instance, a user might see that they granted a website access to their basic information, the information of friends, the option to send them email, and the ability to post to their wall, as well as that the site pulled their About Me and Current City on October 3rd. Permissions are broken down by those required for the app to function, and optional permissions which the user has the ability to remove. This way, if a user enjoys an app but is tired of receiving email from it, they can revoke the previously granted email privilege.
Users can click “See details” under “Last Data Access” to view the Platform Access Log, which lists when each category of their data was accessed. This helps users determine whether an application is accessing their data without their knowledge.
The added visibility offered by the Applications Settings Dashboard will encourage developers to access user data responsibly. Previously, users had no way of knowing if an app they hadn’t used in months was still accessing personal data. These new records will help encourage developers to be transparent about how they’re using data, thereby increasing user confidence in the platform and driving further growth.