Monday, November 24, 2008

Remove or block

One of the hazards of having a Facebook page is the accumulation of excessive applications. If a friend invites you to play a particular game or participate in an online activity with them, you need to install the application for that game or activity, most of the time giving the application access to your information. In many cases, the only way one can find out what the application is about is to install it and try it.

Lately I have been inundated by notifications from applications I tried once without finding them interesting. And so the adventure of uninstalling Facebook applications begins ...

I find my way to Facebook's Applications page where there is a list of the applications I have installed. Next to each of the applications there is a row of icons indicating whether I have bookmarked the application, whether I have added it to my profile, whether I have authorized it to access my data, whether I have given it permission to post stories on my wall, and whether I have given it other kinds of permission.

Then there are the buttons to edit the application's status, to read an "about" page for the application, or to remove the application. "Remove" looks really good.

But when I click it I get a window with a message like the following:

screen capture of window explaining that 'You may either remove access or block this application.'

The user must make a choice, and none of the choices is "Remove AND Block."

I don't know how many times I have scratched my head over this conundrum. I have ended up going with "Remove" because it feels more protective of my privacy, and my general practice has been not to have applications I am trying out show up on my profile page anyhow. I think that all the applications I have "removed" have also disappeared from my bookmarks and application page, but nowhere on this explanatory window is there a promise that "removing" access will actually include "blocking" as well.

If anybody on Facebook has any better solutions, please let me know.

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