Facebook: How to Opt Out of Instant Personalization

Instant Personalization, a rather innocent term that packs a powerful punch of openness. Facebook has long been applauded for their changes to their site with new means of interacting with friends with friends lists, third party applications with the ability to edit privacy settings for applications, gifts (which if you are not a fan, feel free to block Facebook gifts) but with that comes criticism over the privacy policy that users have come to expect. The changes last week with Facebook’s Like and Link is no different and has been met with much controversy but not necessarily as one would immediately think. With like and link, users were prompted to accept or deny recommended pages. Once you accept the pages, your profile is linked to that Community Page. Seemed harmless as if you say that you liked something then you probably did and being linked to a page that shared and supported your likes was just broadening your horizons and introducing you a new page to share your thoughts and ideas and who knows you just may meet a new friend.  Hmh, nothing really to horrible with that and plus you could deny them all and not be linked to any site and your profile is safe right? Yeah … no.

Facebook’s Instant Personalization

Instant personalization is part of the new like and link feature and sits deep inside your privacy settings. Instant personalization is defaulted as opted in which means that access to some of your personal information is potentially exposed. Confusing, it sure is. In a nutshell, you liked, you exposed. I pretty sure that this is not what people signed up for as yes you have to opt-in and accept the page that you like but was it very clear that instant personalization existed and that it was set as an automatic opt-in by Facebook? 

How to Opt out of Instant Personalization

1. On your Facebook page, click Account and then Privacy Settings.

2. Click Applications and Websites.

3. Click the “Edit Setting” box to the right of Instant Personalization (last item on menu).

4. Once inside Instant Personalization, uncheck the box at the bottom.

FB.OptOutPersonalization4

Safe now right? Not so fast as what are your settings as far as what you friends can share about you to sites they have liked and linked?

How to Edit What Your Friends are Sharing About You

Your friends are your friends and for the most part they would never intentionally share your private information with a site that have opted into. However, innocently they very well may be. If you want to add a higher level of security that goes a bit deeper than trust, you can edit what your friends are able to share about you.

1. Again, go into Account on your profile. 

2. Click Privacy Settings.

3. Click Applications and Websites

4. Click “Edit Settings” to the right of What Your Friends Can Share About You.

5. Check or uncheck boxes to determine what your friends can share about you.

FB.OptOutPersonalization5 

All of these options can be changed at any time should you change your mind.  Facebook is going the extra mile here to try and open up their application to outside sources to share your profile. Sure they want you as a user to have the best experience and build a community within the community pages which is great but you are not selecting those people to be friends with as you do with Twitter, LinkedIn and even Foursquare. Your profile is being exposed to other users just because you are sharing the same interest.This potentially could cause a lot of problems as it is not difficult to know what is popular and what people may easily like and be able to have instant access to them.

Have you opted out? Do you protect you what your friends can share about you?

  • Suzanne,
    Thank you for keeping me up to date. I don't pay close attention to such things. This is not the first time I followed your instructions for either Facebook or LinkedIn.

  • Jan

    No problem. Great to see you here on the blog commenting. Much appreciated.

  • Lisa

    I have opted out and i don't want my friends to share anything about me.

  • Lisa

    I limited what my friends can share but I also opted out. I keep my personal FB very private as it is my place to converse with my friends and share pics of my son. I like having a place that I *feel* is able to be protected (the best I can)

  • We were actually wondering what the implications of this change were but hadn't had a chance to look into yet. Thank you for the simple explanation and detailed process for changing the settings – I am going to pass your article along on my social media to spread the word which will hopefully be beneficial to you.

    Similar to you and Lisa I opted out as I'm selective about my Facebook network when compared to other social media. I was actually quite surprised at the information the default setting shares – I'm a huge fan of Facebook but there seems to be a common theme with attempts to bypass privacy settings with new features.

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  • Najaliah James

    I’m joining the club! I first realized that something changed when an article a FB friend “liked” on CNN and it appeared on CNN’s page before I ever saw it on FB. I thought she did something special to rank on CNN until I saw other non-personalities “share” and “like” articles. I quickly realized that my information was likely being shared as well and went into defense mode. Thankfully a relative shared how to opt out, which I did immediately. I'm totally convinced that being so synced is NOT a good thing. Can you imagine being completely linked by your phone, GPS system, FB, TWR, LinkedIn, Outlook and now, newsfeeds? Streamlining communication is one thing, but being networked via IP is like being an Enemy of the State (watch the movie)!

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