You know those updates in your Facebook news feed about which Washington Post stories your friends are reading, what songs they’re listening to on Spotify, and the shows they’re streaming on Hulu? Well, they’re courtesy of Facebook’s new “Open Graph” apps—and many more are on the way.
These Open Graph applications (which, include apps from the likes of Hulu, Spotify, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News, Urbanspoon, and more) can “seamlessly” share you most recent app activity with your Facebook friends after a single click of the “Add to Facebook” button.
Of course, if you’re eager to show the world that you’re, say, reading up on the Kardashians on Yahoo! News, they hey—go for it.
But if you’d rather keep your reading, listening, and streaming habits to yourself, here’s how to stop Facebook’s new, oversharing Open Graph apps from spilling the beans.
Muzzle an Open Graph app before it’s installed
The first (and luckily, not only) chance you have to keep an Open Graph app from sharing all your activity on Facebook comes as you’re installing the app itself.
During the installation process, you’ll see a pull-down menu that lets you choose how far and wide you’d like your app activity to be spread—from “Public” (meaning everyone and anyone, even non-Facebook members) to “Only Me.”
Select “Only Me” to keep an Open Graph app from sharing any activity at all, or pick a Friend List like “Family” or “Close Friends” to keep your activity in a tighter circle. You can even choose to share with only a few specific friends by selecting “Custom.”
Once you’re satisfied, go ahead and click the “Add to Facebook” button.
Tweak Open Graph app sharing settings in your Privacy Settings
Did you already grant an Open Graph app permission to share your activity with the Facebook masses, or are you simply not sure who can see what? Never fear—there’s an easy way to change the sharing settings for an Open Graph app, even after you’ve installed it.
- Go to the top-right corner of any Facebook page, click on the little downward arrow (it’s right next to the “Home” link), select Account Settings, then click the Apps link in the left column.
- Now, see an app in the list that’s been posting a little too much activity to your Facebook Timeline? Click its “Edit” button along the right side of the page.
- Find the section labeled “App activity privacy,” then check the pull-down menu to the right. Don’t like what you see? Then click it and section a new option—again, anything from “Public” to “Only Me.”
- From here, you can also revoke the app’s permission to post anything to your Timeline at all (click the “X” next to “Add app activity to your Timeline” and/or “Post to Facebook as you”), or you can zap the app completely by clicking the “Remove app” link.
- All done? Click “Close.”
So, are you comfortable with “Open Graph” apps sharing what you’re reading, listening to, and watching on Facebook?