Facebook App Center: Sneaky?

finger clicks the yes buttonAccording to a recent NakedSecurity.sophos.com article; the new Facebook App Center is up to Facebook.com’s old tricks of trying to influence users to ignore the meager privacy protection tools available and allow them to give your personal information to third-party applications without your permission. They do this, in my opinion, deliberately, by designing their pages so as to “fool” the user into allowing personal information to be shared.

I had hopes that when Facebook made changes to the profile privacy settings to allow users to easier control how their information is shared. But…they haven’t changed their stripes in light of their treatment of our information while using their apps.

“Beyond not asking users for explicit permission, at least one observer finds that Facebook’s App Center has privacy trickery built right into its bones.

Over the weekend, Avi Charkham, head of Product & Design at Israeli venture capital firm lool ventures, published a piece in TechCrunch that outlined five Facebook design tricks that affect users’ privacy decisions.

He outlined three design quirks specific to App Center:

#1: The Single Button Trick

In the old design Facebook used two buttons – "Allow" and "Don't Allow" – which automatically led you to make a decision. In the new App Center Facebook chose to use a single button. No confirmation, no decisions to make. One click and, boom, your [sic] done! Your information was passed on to the app developers and you never even notice it.

#4: The Action Line Trick

The designers at Facebook know that your eyes will automatically focus on the main action button and will ignore anything below this virtual action line. This is why, in the new App Center design, they hid the detailed permissions you're about to grant below the action line.

#5: The Friendly Talk Trick

In the new App Center Facebook chose to hide the term "Permissions". Instead of showing "Request for Permissions" and a button labeled "Allow" Facebook now sends you to a page full of colorful images with a single button labeled "Play Game".

Take heed of these observations, and beware the antics of these expert persuaders. And always remember to ask yourself this simple question: “Who will see my information, and what might they do with it?” If you can live with the answers, go ahead and click. But if you can’t, if you get a gut feeling that it’s the wrong thing to do…by all means, follow your intuition.

Reference: Naked Security article

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

lubicp(at)yahoo.com and if you twitter, follow me @paulsinternet on Twitter.

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3 Comments

Filed under Facebook, Internet Security, security

3 responses to “Facebook App Center: Sneaky?

  1. We had to put this on our Blog’s Facebook site. We are always warning users about the app center and about privacy. Great post. (We also Reblogged this) ~ Steve

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