Facebook instant personalization: How to disable it, and why

Facebook instant personalization: How to disable it, and why

Summary: Facebook's instant personalization feature becomes available today. But to avoid your data being handed over to partner websites, here's a quick tip in how to disable the feature entirely.

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Updated: see below.

Facebook's 'instant personalization' feature allows the walls between the social network and the world to be broken through for a seamless experience for all.

While many have not been able to access the instant personalisation feature yet, many have found that it is turned on by default so many will be entirely unaware the feature even exists.

However, this raises concerns amongst the 500 million and growing population of the social network, with the potential for better targeted adverts and more of your data handed out to other websites. Information that is set or has been set to 'Everyone' may have already been copied elsewhere.

How it works

Provided you are logged into Facebook, certain websites like Pandora and Bing can 'personalise' their sites with data provided from your account. Any information which is set to 'Everyone', like your name or your birthday can be used to make the website appear more friendly and tuned in.

Only certain sites can access this, and permissions need to be granted to do this. However, to be on the safe side, it is better simply to turn it off completely.

How to turn it off

1. Log into Facebook. In the top right hand corner, click Account, and then Privacy Settings.

2. Under the heading Apps and websites, select Edit your settings.

3. Under the heading Instant personalization, select Edit settings. You may see a popup called 'Understanding instant personalization'. Just hit Close.

4. At the very bottom of the page, simply untick the box labeled Enable instant personalization on partner websites. This will instantly turn off partner websites accessing your data.

If, however, the option is greyed out but still ticked, this means that Facebook has not yet activated instant personalization just yet. It takes time. Check back in a few hours, or the next day.

What next?

From there, it is also advised that you check out the latest revision of the Definitive Facebook Lockdown Guide (shameless plug, I know) to ensure that as much information on your profile is restricted, allowing nobody outside of your friends list can access your information.

Update: Instant personalization was initially launched in April 2010 and was significantly improved during the first three months. Facebook's perspective can be found here on the matter of instant personalization. For many, it will offer a more social experience to third-party partner sites. But it is always pertinent to understand the privacy settings and policies of any site, to ensure that your data is firmly in your control.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Security

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78 comments
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  • I've had this for a while now

    I discovered it at least three weeks ago. I promptly disabled it.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Facebook became new "Windows" from the past

      @Cylon Centurion 0005: users have to care about security and privacy instead of actually using the service care-free.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

        @denisrs

        It's a sad fact, but no matter what platform, people care less about security then they should.

        I see far too many spam/malicious wall posts around Facebook than I care to count.
        I've since 'Liked' Sophos' FB page, and make sure to share their "naked Security" posts detailing new FB scams. So far, it seems to work, those rouge app postings have gone down.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Cylon Centurion 0005:

      Yeah, I also stumbled onto it about that time - I believe Yahoo! ran a story on this.
      huygens1962
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Cylon Centurion 0005: I also discovered it around the same time when I searched myself and much to my dismay found Facebook pictures of myself and friends out in the public view via Scribd.com! Here's the story if you care: http://bit.ly/dGrN7U
      ssojoodi
      • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

        @ssojoodi - I think you don't understand what "personalization" means. It does not mean that "pictures of myself and friends out in the public view". In fact, just the opposite. It means that what you are seeing is customized to you specifically. The "CEO of the next company I work for" will not see this unless he's already your friend on Facebook.
        jFitz369
    • Paranoid - why?

      What are you guys so incredibly paranoid about. It's not like you are giving someone your bank account details, passport number etc...?<br><br>I think it's really cool, being able to go to TripAdvisor and automatically see which of my friends have been to the destination I am researching... I would want more of that, but it will only work if my friends are less paranoid than most of you people are! here's hoping!<br><br>Mark.
      fredphoesh
      • Mark,

        Whatr the hell.. I cant see anything I am typing...blskdjfh askldfhkl asdfh
        GlobalT
      • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

        @fredphoesh Why? If they are really your friends you would know if they have been to Figi (or where ever) and what they think about it. All someone needs to get your bank acct and such is part of your FB profile; personally I think that a healthy dose of paranoia is a good thing. It's what makes us look both ways before crossing the street. I don't care if TripAdvisor (or any website) can "personalize" my visit to their website or not. If I use it consistently then it will be personalized for me; if not then why do I care if they address me by name?
        merryferro@...
  • Facebook &quot;privacy&quot; settings are going to be such complex thing that there..

    ... actually consulting business could be built around it.

    Universities may actually start new faculties that would graduate students into professional in this, similar to lawyers.

    (And, by the way, I am almost not joking.)
    DDERSSS
  • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

    Easiest way to disable: delete your Facebook account.
    Droid101
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Droid101 You can if you like. https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account
      zwhittaker
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Droid101 I think it's best to just get off the internet completely. Much safer.
      johnd126
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Droid101 ... I deactivated my account and requested that it be deleted back in September of 2010. I was told at the time that this process might take up to two weeks. It's February 2nd, and the account is still there, and I still get emails asking me to come back. Like athlete's foot ... annoying stuff and darned hard to get rid of.
      Trep Ford
      • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

        @Trep Ford

        Set up the account again with false details, reactivate 'Instant personalization' and post stories of how a certain internet billionaire gave you aids! That will get it taken down
        Graham Ellison
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @Droid101

      What he said - Facebook & their "owners" display too blatant a disregard for people's privacy for me to have anything to do with them.

      Paranoid? Maybe, but at least I don't have to worry that the clown will decide to do something else off his own bat that will put my details in some Wikileaks-type release.
      michael_boardman@...
    • How do you do it?

      @Droid101
      lcc@...
  • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

    Checked it out and it's related to that change a year ago. I had disabled it then and when I went in to disable "instant personalization" it was already unchecked. Guess they just renamed it and gave it some more juice? Glad they didn't reset my disable from last year.
    mopiela
    • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

      @mopiela Mine was unchecked as well.
      BunnyKnows714
  • RE: Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why

    I just looked and however long this had been in my privacy settings it was not enabled by default, so maybe Facebook got privacy religion...or someone threatened to sue them.
    lostinspace