With the new Facebook come fresh concerns for its users privacy, as the commercial aspect becomes more prominent than simply being a cool social networking platform for the concerning internet user.
Once the unique and beloved feature of Facebook, applications are becoming a major nuisance for many friends, even more so due to the absence of any quality controls whatsoever. Hence why one major bone of contention is that removing unwanted applications has become even harder.
Back in the good ol’ days of Facebook 1.0 you simply went into your applications centre and hit “remove”. That was basically it.
With the new Facebook you are presented with a “remove” option that in fact only removes the link or bookmark. Why the Facebook developers thought this might be useful is unclear as it only confuses users because they expect the app to be removed, not just the link to it from their menu.
I think this is a major issue, since removing the link from the applications menu could lead users to think they removed the application when in fact it is still very much active!
Is Facebook duping its users into seemingly removing unwanted applications? What other than complaints could they possibly be getting out of it? Let’s look at a typical Facebook application and see why they might want you to keep applications even if you don’t:
According to Facebook’s help entry on removing applications you should see a “remove application” link. But you don’t because the entry in fact reads that you can find it in the “about” page:
Looking at the options under “edit” in the applications list we find a few sub-menus, lots of options but no “remove this” link:
So back to the applications list we go and click on “about” to finally arrive at controls we want to use.
Notice the “remove” and “block” links on the page. Just removing an application doesn’t mean it’s removed! It can still see and use your details, you will also need to block it in order to get rid of it entirely.
To summarise: Remove link on applications list only removes bookmark. No removal link on the actual application page. Remove link on the “about page” of the application leaves the application able to continue to collect users data.
Maybe I’m just paranoid but I think the reason why Facebook is so keen to keep the new design is because it does exactly what it was designed to do: confuse its users.