Tech Guide

Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off

Key Points
  • You might be logged in to dozens or hundreds of apps with your Facebook account.
  • Those apps can see your friends list, your profile picture, networks you belong to and more.
  • We'll show you how to find out which apps have data on you, and how to cut them off.
Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off
Here's how to see which apps have access to your Facebook data — and cut them off

If you've ever opened an app and selected the option to "log in with Facebook" instead of creating a new account, chances are that the people or company behind that app know a lot about you.

According to Facebook, each app that you log into will get your gender, networks you belong to, username, your user ID, your full name and your profile picture. They also get access to your full friends list and any other public information on your profile.

And you may have used this method to log into an app dozens or — as I discovered on my account — even hundreds of times.

This issue is at the center of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that the social media company is facing right now. The political research firm was able to access data on more than 50 million Facebook users through a third-party personality quiz application, without the knowledge or consent of users. The quiz maker wasn't supposed to pass the information along, but Facebook at the time had no technical measures in place to prevent it. Cambridge Analytica later used this and other information to create detailed psychological profiles of Facebook users and to micro-target political ads at some of them, according to recent reports in the Observer and The New York Times.

How to hunt them down

Here's how to see what apps have your data and how to cut them off.

  • On desktop or in the mobile app, tap the drop-down menu on the top-right side of Facebook and select "Settings."
  • Select the "Apps" option. This is on the left side of the page on desktop. On mobile, simply scroll down the settings page.

This will show you all the apps that have access to the aforementioned data. In this case — and I had no idea until my editor asked me to write this story — I've granted access to 224 apps ranging from Airbnb to apps I don't even remember, like "BarkApproved."

To delete an app, just select it and tap the "X" button in the right corner, then select remove. Unfortunately, any data that you've previously shared will still be obtained by the app, but it won't get any new data on you.

You can also manage settings for apps you still want to use. For Airbnb, for example, instead of deleting it I selected the "edit" button while hovering over the app and then unchecked options that let it view my friends list and e-mail address.