Q: How do I block all the Farmville posts from my friends that are clogging up my Facebook page? I don’t have any interest in playing those games. — Lynn
A: Facebook has become an Internet phenomenon and a primary method of daily communication for millions of people. It’s become an amazing one-to-one-to-many communication system that continues to grow in popularity.
Of the 400 million people that have a Facebook account, over 83 million are active users of Farmville which is why even if you don’t play the game, you’re going to get pelted with updates from your friends.
What many users of third-party Facebook applications (such as Farmville, Café World, and Mafia Wars) don’t realize is that they are giving up their profile information in exchange for access to the game.
And they aren’t just giving up access of their profile info to the Farmville game maker, but also to all of their advertising ‘affiliates.’
Depending upon how your privacy settings are configured, your game playing friends can even allow these third-party companies to access your profile info even if you aren’t playing the game.
Facebook constantly updates its system (much to the dismay of many) but the upside is that they continue to add tools that help us manage the traffic and our privacy on our own pages.
If you simply want to hide Farmville posts from your ‘News Feed’ (generally the default page when you sign on to Facebook), the next time you get a Farmville update in your stream, float your mouse over the right corn of the post and click on ‘Hide.’
This should bring up three options: Hide (Username), Hide Farmville, and Cancel.
If you click on ‘Hide (Username),’ then nothing from that use will ever appear in your News Stream (but they can still manually post comments on your wall).
If you click on ‘Hide Farmville,’ you will not see any updates from this user or any other user that is playing Farmville in your News Feeds any longer. (This works with any posting that comes from third-party applications; Causes, Birthday Cards, etc.)
Additionally, If you want to globally block Farmville as an application to your profile so that you no longer get Farmville invitations, go to www.facebook.com/farmville and click on the ‘Block Application’ link below the Farmville logo on the left side.
You can repeat this for any Facebook application by simply putting the name of the app in the Search bar and finding the page associated with the application.
Most of your friends probably don’t realize that they can share your profile information to third-party applications even if you are not using the application or the game.
You can control what they can share about you by clicking on Account (in the upper right hand corner), then on Privacy Settings/Applications and Web sites then on the Edit Setting button for ‘What your friends can share about you.’
Remove the checkmark for any of your profile information that you do not want shared via your friends to applications and Web sites, but remember that anything that is available via your public profile can be readily accessed by third party applications and Web sites at any time.
If you want to see what information is available via your public profile, go back to the Privacy Settings screen, then click on Profile Information. You will see a list of items that are contained in your profile with buttons to the right with four options: Everyone, Friends of Friends, Only Friends, and Customize.
The first three are pretty obvious, but the Customize option allows you to choose one of the three previous settings and then manually hide the item from specific people.
Finally, be sure to click on the Preview My Profile button at the top right to double-check what the general Facebook public (and third-party applications) can see on your profile without being your friend first.
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