PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - In the last couple of months Facebook has been encouraging its users to do more with social readers apps and video apps like socialcam and Viddy. While most apps are still in the early developmental stage, lots of Facebook users are taking advantage of them, even to the annoyance of their friends. So are these apps spam or are they okay, and how do we use them without annoying our friends?
Our NEWS CENTER Social Media coordinator, Brett Whitmarsh, explains more.
What these apps are?
Just like on a smart phone, Facebook is getting deeper and deeper into using apps on their site. They have even launched a new app center like an app store you would find on your smart phone. They started out with social reading apps like the Washington Post's social reader. The major complaint is that these social reading apps want to post to your page telling everyone what you've just read.
Do all these apps do the same thing?
For the most part, yes. The idea is the app wants to share your activity with your friends. The app then pulls the information from what you and your friends read and watch to give you more specifics content to what it thinks you would like to see more of.
So does that make apps like socialcam spam?
They are approved by Facebook, and you agree to use them, so they're not technically spam, but they act like it. Especially socialcam. The style in which it posts videos you've watched looks like your page has been spamed. What socialcam does is pull trending videos from users uploads and YouTube to deliver videos it thinks you want to watch. It then posts what you watch on your page.
So are these apps safe to use?
They are safe as long as you are comfortable with the information you're willing to give them to function. At first glance Socialcam looks like it just wants your basic info and email address. It clearly states that it will post on your behalf every time you watch something. That's where it gets annoying to your friends. Just above that though the details of what information the app gets is somewhat hidden under the question mark. If we highlight the mouse over it we then see what information the app wants; all information you make public, your list of friends, gender, networks and user ID. This is a lot of info to offer up just to watch a video. If you are comfortable with this info then go ahead and accept the terms. This is also the chance to limit what you allow the app to post. It wants to post no matter what. So limit it to post as "only me." It will default to public or friends of friends.
Are all apps like this one?
So what if you missed this before and no need to go back and fix what the app is doing?
From here go into your Facebook account settings. Click on apps. Here you will see all the apps you have running on your page. This will include games. Click on the edit icon and that apps details will open up. This is really good info to read through and examine. This I the spot where you can remove an app from your timeline or can edit what the app can do. The only big thing you can edit is who can see your activity. I suggest switching this to "only me"
Again most of the apps are fun and useful and take advantage of the Facebook idea to never leave Facebook. If you don't want to use the apps or are worried about them, just go to the apps full website to find what your looking for.