What Apps Have Access to Your Facebook and Twitter?

Facebook and Twitter apps access_header

While social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easy to share things with your friends, they also make it easy to log in to various services and applications, too. As authentication brokers, Facebook and Twitter let users use their account credentials to sign into third-party sites. To do so, the user has to give permission for those sites to access their profile data.

Facebook is a full-blown apps ecosystem. You may have added an app to take advantage of a promotion or contest, played a game, or added new functionality such as music streaming. In most cases, it just means the app developer has access to some of your profile data. In the worst-case scenario, a malicious developer behind the service can use your account to send out spam.

When was the last time you’ve checked to see what apps have access to your Facebook and Twitter accounts? If you are like most Internet users, you are probably long overdue for a cleanup.

Below, we show you how to perform an audit. An audit will let you review all the apps on your account and determine if they should still have access.

Auditing Facebook
To see a similar list on Facebook, you need to click on the gear icon on the top right corner of the screen, and then Privacy Settings. Clicking on Apps in the left-column brings up the App Settings page.

Facebook gear icon

Facebook App Settings

The Apps you use section displays all the applications that have access to the account. You can remove applications you are no longer using by clicking on the “x” for each row. If you are still using the app, click on Edit to make sure you are okay with the information the app is collecting and has access to.

Next, check the Apps others use (underneath Apps you use) setting as well, since apps, games, and websites your friends are using can also access your personal details, photos and updates. In this section, you can select which pieces of information your friends’ apps can access. You may not be comfortable with an app you are not using having access to your data. This is your chance to do something about it.

Facebook Apps others use

If you are gung-ho about not using Facebook apps, there is a nuclear option. After removing every app, if you click on Edit, you will have the option to turn the platform off. If you do so, you won’t be able to log in to sites using Facebook or add any apps until you turn it back on. But you’ll likely never see Facebook spam ever again.

Auditing Twitter
You can view all the apps that have access to your Twitter account by clicking on the gear icon on the top right hand corner of the Twitter home page. Click on Edit Profile in the drop down menu that appears, and then on Apps in the Profile page’s left column.

Twitter apps Gear icon

Twitter apps

This displays a list of applications you’ve granted access to your Twitter account. Are you surprised by the number of apps here? Revoke access to apps that you don’t recognize, or know that you no longer use. If you aren’t sure, remove them anyway. The worst thing that can happen is that the app will prompt you to re-authorize it the next time you need it. And if you never get prompted, then you clearly weren’t using it.

You can revoke an app simply by clicking on the Revoke access button next to each app name. If you make a mistake, you can always re-enable access by clicking on the Undo Revoke Access button.

Why Audit?
You reduce your risk of unauthorized use of these apps, cut down on the chances of spammers taking over your account, and even remind yourself of tools and services you may have forgotten about. It’s a good idea to review your apps on a regular basis. Whether that’s once a quarter, twice a year, or annually depends entirely on your app usage. Just don’t neglect this aspect of maintenance. Your data will thank you.

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12 comments on “What Apps Have Access to Your Facebook and Twitter?

  • Ok You got me……
    Now I’m going to go and review my apps on FB and Twitter, I think it has been oooooh maybe forever ago since I even looked at them. I do appreciate your news letters. They are not to often and have good information that sometimes I can use or pass on.

  • Are there any ZoneAlarm settings which can interfere with Facebook-authorized Apps on Corporate Pages?

    The app I’m trying to use (AWeber) was accepted by/registered to our Facebook page, but the app isn’t completing (receiving?) the return “affirmation” authorization from Facebook (i.e., the app doesn’t recognize that Facebook is allowing it to act on the admin’s/page owner’s behalf).

    After the app is registered by/on Facebook, the app itself reports “Could not complete authorization of your Facebook account” … which makes me think maybe ZoneAlarm is stopping the incoming part … ?

  • A very useful and informative article. I hadn’t thought about the issues you raise in relation to security and apps to which friends subscribe. I’m off to audit my Twitter and FB accounts.

  • Loretta Earle says:

    That is such useful information .. thank you!
    After reading the article, I went straight to my Facebook page and found all sorts of links I didn’t want, which I’ve now removed. I thought I was already careful about my privacy but it just proves there’s always more to learn.

  • Thank you for this great article. Luckily, I have never played games, never used any apps and my slate looks pretty much clean. Moreover, thanks to the above write up, I also know how to audit these settings and protect not only myself, but also my family.

    Good work, keep it up


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