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Opting Out Of Facebook's Instant Personalization 101

If you are unhappy with Facebook's Instant Personalization service recently launched with their new Open Graph initiative, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet watchdog organization has provided a step-by-step process of making this slightly confusing and arduous task a lot easier.

Instant Personalization is defined by Facebook as allowing select websites to "personalize your experience using your public Facebook information." The initial sites are Pandora, Yelp and Microsoft Docs. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained, this means that when you visit "Pandora for the first time, it can immediately start playing songs from bands you've liked." Pandora, and other partners, can also link your real name and other Facebook information with everything you do on their site.

Mark Zuckerberg would like the entire Web to follow in the footsteps of Pandora and Yelp. If you feel strongly against Facebook's stance on privacy and would like to opt-out of Instant Personalization, here are the five easy steps that will walk you through the process painlessly.

1- Go to the Instant Personalization privacy setting and uncheck the "Allow" button. Click confirm. Come back to this page.


An intimidation warning will pop up that questions your decision-making about opting-out of instant personalization. It states:



2- Go to the page for Microsoft Docs, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.


3- Go to the page for Pandora, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.


4- Go to the page for Yelp, click Block Application on the page, click Block Application on the pop-up, and click Okay on the next pop-up. Come back to this page.


5- Optional: Go to the Facebook Site Governance page, and express your opinion in a comment. If you have time, read through some of the feedback already posted. The majority of these comments are from folks who are adamantly against Facebook's position on 'privacy.'


If you would rather have a visual overview of the process, here is an updated EFF tutorial video on how to opt out of instant personalization.


If you are still skeptical about this process, and don't approve of the way Facebook manages or protects your data, you can delete your Facebook account altogether.


However, Facebook's privacy policy explains that even if you take this action, various data footprints will remain. According to Facebook's privacy policy, third-party providers with whom you have shared information are authorized to retain that information according to the terms of the agreement with Facebook.

Zuckerberg has received negative criticism in the private and public sector. Of recent date Senator Charles Schumer says that the new features invades the privacy of Facebook's more than 400 million users (see "Mark Zuckerberg, Social Media's Howard Stern?") 

In a subsequent post, titled, "Naked on the Web o Facebook's 'New Privacy' Act," the issue of privacy is discussed in an historical context. As the definition of privacy continues to evolve, what is considered today's accepted norm will be outdated in the years to  come - and probably at a faster speed due to the Internet.

While new privacy will continue to be debated, it is most likely inevitable. However, that makes it incumbent on all of us to  keep organizations like Facebook in check, less they begin to garner a disproportionate amount of control over our private data and advertising on the Web.

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