Why Do Apps Need Access to My Profile?

If you are like most people, you have probably seen a message like this when clicking on an app link on Facebook and wondered what it all means:


All apps will require basic information and your public profile in order for you to use them.  The image pictured above is what is required for the 22 Social App that I use to host my webinars on my Facebook Page.

A common misconception is that by clicking OK you are allowing the app to see your Friends List and giving the app access to your Friends’ data. This is not true. By granting access, you are allowing the app to search your Friends List for any users also using the same app.  If no one on your Friends List is using the app, the app will get no results. You are only giving the app permission to access a list of your friends that also use that app to enhance the social experience for the app users. This is usually a feature that works well with game apps so you can interact with your friends in the game who are also playing. In order for a person to show up in that list, both people must have given permission to share their list of friends with the same app during the login process. You can adjust your settings in either your About Section (for all audiences) or under App Settings (for just apps’ access).

[UPDATE 5/1/15] 22 Social no longer requires access to your Friends List. It was not something the app needed in order to function properly (like gaming apps do), so it was removed from the app configuration. You can always select which pieces of information you share by clicking on “Edit the info you provide” (see image below).


There’s a section in one of my previous blog posts that goes into detail about how to change your setting on your Profile’s About Section. And Facebook has a great resource for those wanting to tighten up their app settings: Facebook’s Data Use Policy Regarding Applications.

All apps require access to one’s public profile (the part of the users profile that’s already public anyway). These are basic API settings for all apps. This does not mean that apps have access to your personal account. Things like gender and birthdate are needed for personalization and/or security reasons.  For example, to make sure you are not a minor if the content is not appropriate for children, to accurately refer to you as he/she or him/her, or to deliver information to you in the appropriate time zone.

If the app wants to post on your behalf (22 Social does NOT), you can easily manage that by simply setting the audience to Only Me like I show in this example:


If you have any questions about this topic that I have not answered here, please leave a comment below.



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