Dealing with Facebook Spam

Learn to Clean Up All Those Application Posts and Requests

The introduction of Facebook applications started a frustrating trend of application spam. This comes in many different forms. Friends can post items to your wall that prompt you to click on it and add the application. Applications that you once tried can seemingly forever spam your News Feed with things that no longer interest you. Your notifications can get clogged up with requests for applications you’ve never even heard of. Applications can even e-mail you if you once gave them permission! With so many apps across Facebook it’s easy for these things to get out of control. This guide will show you how to deal with those pesky applications.
Blocking Applications From Your Profile
People can post, or “share” content on your profile from apps that you’ve never even touched. A common example:

“John Doe just answered a question about you! Click to see what they said!”

These things often get posted because friends are using the app and they get some sort of bonus or credit for sharing it with their friends. If you have multiple friends who do this your profile can turn into a disaster very quickly. Removing them from your profile is easy though. When you hover over the message on your profile you’ll see an “X” appear in the top right. Click that “X” and you are given a few options: “Remove Post”, “Block (Application)”, “Mark as Spam” and “Report as Abuse”. Which one should you use? “Remove Post” is good if you just want that one post removed. People can still post things from that application to your profile in the future. If you want to stop that application from posting to your wall indefinitely, from any friend, then click “Block (Application)”. If the post is spam, such as a chain letter or a scam (like the infamous “Dislike Button” scam) then you can click “Mark as Spam” to submit a report of it directly to Facebook. “Report as Abuse” is only for instances where you are being harassed and wish to report it to Facebook.

Block an Application From Your News Feed
Another source of frustrating spam is applications that post to your News Feed. A common offender of this is “Gifting” applications and “Horoscope” applications. Facebook helped tackle this problem by seeing when too many instances of an application post to your wall and group them together, making you click “See More” from that application. For example, if 10 friends post their Horoscope, you’ll only see one or two before clicking to see more. For those who never want to see these items, there’s a better solution.

When you see a post from an application appearing in your News Feed you can remove it in a similar manner as blocking applications from your profile. Hover over the post and that same “X” will appear in the upper right corner. Clicking on this “X” reveals the following options: “Hide this Post”, “Hide all by (Name)”, “Hide all by (Application)” and “Mark as Spam”. Choosing to hide the post will only hide that one particular post and will do nothing to prevent them in the future. Choosing to “Hide all by (Name)” will hide every post by that friend, both their regular status posts and things that they post from apps. The best option is to click “Hide all by (Application)”. This will hide any post in the future from that offending application from any of your friends.

Removing an Application Completely
Hiding an application from your News Feed takes care of the spam, but if you’re not interested, why not remove it completely? Most people aren’t aware of the option to do so. To find every application that you have “installed”, which means any application that you have used, and importantly, allowed permission to your profile, follow these steps:

1. On the very upper right hand side of your Facebook screen, click on “Account”.

2. Click “Privacy Settings”.

3. At the bottom of the screen you’ll see “Apps and Website”. Underneath this click “Edit Your Settings”.

From this point you have a few options. At first you’ll see how many apps you are “using”. This number may surprise you, as this is any application you’ve ever used since you’ve been on Facebook! Think of every quiz you’ve take or game you’ve tried; it definitely builds up. You can choose to disable all applications by clicking on “Turn off all platform apps”. This will make it so that you can’t use or interact with any applications, and also means you can’t interact with Facebook from any other websites you may have connected with. For most situations you want to individually choose which apps to remove. To do this, click on the “Edit Settings” button or click on the “Remove unwanted or spammy apps” link.

Here you will see a master list of all applications you have used. There are a few things you can do from this screen:

1. Remove the app completely. To do this, click the “X” all the way to the right of the application name, next to “Edit Settings”.

2. Control what information the app has access to. Click on the app’s name or the “Edit Settings” link. This will show everything that the application has access to. Some of this is required for the app to function, and the first option: “Access my basic information” is allowed for all apps by default by Facebook. Any other permissions you can remove by clicking “Remove” next to the permission.

3. See when you last used the app.

4. See when it last accessed your data. You can see this by bringing up the permissions information by clicking “Edit Settings” or simply clicking on the app’s name. At the bottom you will see “Last Data Access”. You can also click the link here to see more in depth information.

5. View the app’s profile page. Click the name of the app to bring up the permissions information, and then you’ll see that name you just clicked turned into a link. Click the name of the app again and it will bring you to the application’s profile page. This does not bring you to the actual application itself. Instead, it’s the page with all the information about the app. From here you can also block the app, report the app, share the app and various other things. If you don’t remember what the app is, you can click the blue “Go To App” button on this screen at the top of the page.

Stop an App from E-mailing You
Did you grant permission to an application to e-mail you, but now you regret it? Fixing this problem is easy if you follow these steps:

1. On the upper right corner of your Facebook screen, click “Account”.

2. Choose “Account Settings”.

3. Click the “Notifications” tab.

From here you can control all sorts of Facebook e-mail notifications, so have fun looking through the list. If you only want to deal with Applications right now, click “Other Apps” on the right hand side or scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Here you can see all apps that have permission to e-mail you. Click “See # More” to see the full list. Uncheck the box underneath “E-mail” to stop them from being able to e-mail you. When you’re done, be sure to click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the page for it to take affect.

That’s all there is to it! Follow these steps and you should notice much less spam clogging up your news feed, notifications and inbox.

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