It is already pretty ubiquitous on the web; your Facebook profile seems to pop up everywhere! If you go to CNN, you find yourself already logged in with your Facebook profile and able to comment with it. If you go to Pandora, your music preferences are automatically shared with the site.
This form of “instant personalization” of sites using your Facebook profile is a privacy slippery slope. Therefore, if you are interested in protecting your privacy, you have a few options to do so…
Opting Out of Specific Sites
Most decent sites that partner with Facebook, like Docs, Yelp, Pandora and others, allow you to turn off the personalization option upon visiting the site for the first time.
On the other hand, some other sites, such as CNN Money, don’t really provide you with any options to turn it off so you’ll have to look for other ways to do it. Turning it off on a case to case bases is a tedious and annoying endeavor.
Switching it off from the Source
The personalization option is on by default on Facebook but you will be able to disable it if you dig deep into your settings;
- Click on “Account” on the top right of your Facebook home page and move to the “Privacy Settings“
- Under Privacy settings select “Applications and Websites” on the bottom left and select “Edit Your Settings”
- Click on the “Edit settings” for Instant Personalization
- BONUS - Edit the settings of “Info accessible through your friends” under “Applications and Websites” and select the information that you feel comfortable letting your friends share with websites and applications.
Treat It Like The Spam It Is …
People don’t appreciate ads intruding on their browsing experience and hence they install Firefox and adblocker, for the same reasons some people don’t like Facebook intruding on their presence on the net. One of those people is David Collier who wasn’t too happy about Facebook’s instant personalization and hence blocked it.
- Install Firefox and the AdBlock Plus add-on
- After Starting Firefox click on the “ABP” icon next to your search bar to access the preferences or go to Tools–>AdBlock Plus Preferences
- Click on Add Filter and create a filter called ‘Facebook Block’ and add the following code in it:
- Click “Apply“
Now AdBlock Plus will be blocking access and traffic to and from Facebook.com on any website except for Facebook.com. That way you will no longer see “like” buttons or swathes of the people who like a certain page or company and no longer have to deal with those pesky auto-logins.