What you need to know about Facebook apps and frictionless sharing


The change has happened, whether you approved of it or not, your old Facebook wall is now known as the Timeline and a wide variety of apps are available for you to use on your favorite social media site. But have you ever taken the time to stop and think about how these apps work and what information they share with your friends? Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you install a new Facebook app.

What is frictionless sharing?
Frictionless sharing is a term that was introduced with the new Facebook timeline profile during the F8 conference in 2011. In the golden age of Facebook, you had to work to share your activities. If you read an article you enjoyed, you had to either click the “share” button at the end of the web page or, copy and paste the link on your wall in order to share it with your friends. Nowadays, all of that is done for you, depending on the application you use. If you gave your permission for a certain application once, Facebook will not ask for this permission again, meaning that everything you do or read with this application will be transferred to your profile without you ever hitting a “share” button.

There are things you can do to protect yourself from frictionless sharing. Next time you are asked by an application to perform a certain action before you are granted access to an article, consider the following:

  1. Keep in mind the applications you already have installed and check them from time to time. If you don’t take the time to set your privacy settings accordingly, some applications will constantly feed what you have been doing to all your friends.
  2. Monitor your timeline. Some people forget that the new Timeline is a lot more flexible than Facebook’s previous interface. After sharing something via an application, you can go back to your Timeline and decide who amongst your friends should see this. If you don’t want anyone to see the action, just click on the X button next to the post and it will no longer be published on your profile.
  3. Not all apps encourage frictionless sharing. Some apps come equipped with build in tools that prevent your activities from appearing on your Timeline. Next time you read an article with an app, check to see if there is a Mark as unread at the end of the article and click it if you don’t want your friends to know what you have read.
  4. Check your activity log: This new feature of Facebook is often forgotten. Use it to view your recent activities and who you shared them with, if they are public or private or if you even want them to be published on your Timeline. 

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