With the increasing use of technology and the internet in our daily lives, it's become commonplace to connect with friends, manage finances, and store personal data through various apps and websites. While these apps can make our lives easier, they also have the potential to access sensitive personal information.
Most apps gain access to your account through platforms such as Google, Facebook, or Twitter. How come? Well, it's become far easier to log into other apps directly through your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account since it streamlines the login process and helps to keep track of all of those passwords. However, that also means that your personal data is exposed.
You may be logged into dozens of apps and websites using your Facebook or Google account without even realizing it. These apps and websites can access information from your social profiles, including your picture, friends list, the types of sites you follow, and even the networks you belong to. The scary part is that they don't even need your password to access this information and your accounts.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware to what extent these apps can access their personal information, and this can lead to data breaches, unauthorized transactions, and identity theft. That's why it's important to be aware of the apps with access to your accounts and the risks they pose to your data privacy. By understanding which apps give third-party access to your pages, you can take action to protect your personal data.
Using your Google or Facebook account to log into new apps or websites is exceptionally convenient. Instead of creating a new account from scratch and remembering yet another username and password, you can simply use your existing Google or Facebook credentials to log into the new app or website. This method not only streamlines the login process and saves time but also makes it easier for you to keep track of your various accounts.
However, when you grant an app or website access to your Google or Facebook account, you're essentially giving them permission to collect and use your personal data through specific APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). These APIs connect to your social profile to collect information about you including your name, phone number, email address, profile picture, friends list, interests, the types of sites you follow, your habits, and your preferences. The data will then be used by the app itself or sold to third-party companies for marketing purposes. Not only does this practice violate your privacy, but it also opens you up to the risk of data breaches, identity theft, and unauthorized transactions.
Consider the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, for example. Cambridge Analytica was a political consulting firm that harvested millions of Facebook users' personal data without authorization. The data was then used to create detailed profiles of individual voters and influence their behavior during the 2016 U.S. Presidential election and the Brexit referendum. They obtained that data by using a third-party quiz app. This app promised to provide people with information about their personalities. Instead, it was able to access the personal data of not just the users who took the quiz but also the data of their friends on Facebook. This allowed Cambridge Analytica to gather data on tens of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.
That's why it's so important to be cautious when granting access to your Google or Facebook account. Always research the app before granting access, and regularly review the apps that have access to your account to ensure they're still trustworthy. By doing so, you can stay in control of your personal data and reduce the risk of it being misused or exposed.
To figure out which apps have information on you from your Facebook data, follow these steps:
These steps are largely the same whether you are using the mobile or desktop version of Facebook. However, the two versions may have minor differences in the user interface and navigation.
On the mobile app, you can access your settings by tapping on the three lines in the bottom right corner of the screen, selecting "Settings & Privacy," and finally, tapping "Settings." From there, you can navigate to the "Apps and Websites" section and follow the steps listed above.
On the desktop website, the steps are a bit more straightforward, as you can access your settings directly from the top right corner of the page.
It's important to regularly review the apps and websites that have access to your Facebook data, as new apps and websites may be added over time, and you may forget which ones you've granted access to in the past.
Once you've landed on the page that lists all of the apps and websites that have access to your Facebook data, it's best to review it thoroughly. Identify any apps or websites you don't recognize or use and then remove them by selecting "Remove."
Be aware, however, that this does not remove any of the information the app already has from being shared. It just prevents new data from being shared.
Twitter is a less common culprit unless you use the site often. Nonetheless, it can still connect to third-party apps, allowing them to access the data in your account. This includes your profile information, posts, and followers list.
To figure out which apps have information on you from your Twitter account, follow these steps:
By following the steps above, you'll be able to review the list of each authorized app and can identify the ones you no longer use or trust. To revoke access to an app, simply click on the app in question and select "Revoke Access."
Like Facebook and Twitter, Google also provides a list of third-party apps and websites connected to your Google account. To access the list of apps and websites with Google account access, follow these steps:
After following the steps above, you will see a list of all the apps and websites that have access to your Google account. Review the list and identify any apps you no longer use or trust. To revoke access to an app, simply click on the app in question and select "Remove Access."
While connecting your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to other apps and websites makes the login procedure and user experience more convenient, it does pose a significant risk to your privacy. Some apps' reasoning for collecting and selling location data, browsing history, contacts, and even financial information seems more than questionable. Additionally, apps that use third-party libraries or SDKs may inadvertently collect more information than they need or fail to adequately protect the information they collect.
The best way to protect yourself online is to know the risks to your data. If you plan to use third-party apps like this, stay up to date on the information they are collecting. Also, regularly review the apps that have access to your data to ensure that you're only sharing your personal information with apps that you trust.
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