Tech Talk: Permission Denied



A couple of weeks ago, the latest Facebook fad was an app that would post a graphic describing how crazy you are on any given day.

My crazy score never exceeded 14%, which is how I know that there’s a serious flaw in that app’s algorithm.

All the cool kids were using the app, displaying graphics on their Facebook timelines that showed that they were 42% or 15% or 63% crazy. It looked like harmless fun, so I clicked through as well.

9 percent crazyBut the next morning I discovered that the app had taken it upon itself to post on my behalf and tell all my friends and relatives that I am 9% crazy. Just what I needed—an app with initiative.

My husband and I have always tried to teach our children to use the Internet safely. Until they reach high school, they may only use computers in the public areas of our home. We’ve peeked over their shoulders to see what they were doing. We’ve got our home network locked down with OpenDNS, and we have always counseled them not to click on those flashing, blinking, brightly colored ads at the tops of browser screens or open emails with attachments they don’t expect from people they don’t know.

And here I was, letting a silly game put words in my mouth on a social network. Granted, it only put up a picture claiming I’m quite sane by most standards, but the point is that I was allowing that app to have access to my social-network profile.


Not anymore. I immediately went into my Facebook settings and revoked that app’s permissions.

Facebook general account settingsIt’s a good idea to periodically clear out your Facebook app permissions. Here’s how to do that:

  • Click the little gear in the Facebook top banner (on the right) and choose SETTINGS from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose Apps from the list on the left of your screen (pictured here).
  • In the list of apps, you can remove them by clicking the X in the EDIT column on the right.
  • Change how the apps you keep can interact with your account by clicking the information in the ON column. You’ll find out which apps can post on your behalf, who can see what is posted through these apps, and more.

Have you ever caught yourself taking online risks that you wouldn’t want your children to take?

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2014 Barb Szyszkiewicz

image source (Denied)


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan and freelance writer. Her three children range in age from middle school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb volunteers at the school library and is a music minister at her parish. She is also an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Barb blogs at FranciscanMom and shares her family’s favorite diabetic-friendly recipes at Cook and Count.


  1. Thanks, Barb — this is a great reminder to check and update our Facebook settings from time to time. That pesky box is one we click right through on the way to quizzes, etc. and it’s easy to lose track of how many apps can tap into our information. Great blog!

  2. What a GREAT IDEA, Barb. I NEVER think of cleaning up apps, though I tend not to allow them access, anyway. I’m sure I have some that I inadvertently clicked “yes” to, especially when I was starting up our family’s blog last year. I was sooooooooo clueless (and still am) about blogging and the like – just trying to jump on the bandwagon. But I realize the importance of caution, and I also realize that a lot of these goofy apps have access to information we DON’T want them to! THANK YOU for reminding me to clean up my FB!

  3. Oh, my! Glad I don’t have that app – I’m sure it would have declared to the world that I”m 100% crazy! But thanks for reminding me to stay on top of those apps and make sure they aren’t posting info for me.

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