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Minimise the information you provide to applications on social media

Priority Level: 
24 November 2015

You are advised to be wary of providing information to applications that appear on social media websites.

These applications may provide an amusing or useful service to users of social media websites. However, the applications may also seek to capture considerably more personal information than may be required to perform the intended services.

These applications, which appear on the social media website or service, are typically developed and offered by individuals or organisations that are not directly affiliated with the social media website or service. Users typically access these applications through the social media website or service. The application may take the form of quizzes or other ‘fun’ activities that a user can complete quickly.   

However, the information captured by these applications may include your birth date, your contacts and their details, your posts, your education history, your hometown, your photos and your ‘likes’ or ‘favourites’.

The application owner may also reserve the right to forward or sell your personal details to other parties and disavow responsibility for how those other parties use those details.

You should always exercise caution when a social media application asks you for personal details and carefully read the terms and conditions of use before proceeding.

Stay Smart Online recommends you do not authorise any social media application to access more of your personal information than appears necessary to perform its task. A hypothetical example may be a ‘free’ application that asks you to provide your credit card or online banking details.

A simple check you can undertake is to ask yourself ‘why would this service need this information about me?’ If you are at all doubtful, Stay Smart Online recommends you do not proceed with supplying the information, even if that prevents you from using the application.

We also recommend that you exercise extreme caution if a social media application includes conditions giving it control over or ownership of any of your information. You should also be wary if the terms and conditions provide limited or no insight into how your information may be used or stored.       

In certain cases, the application may allow you to edit the personal information that it can access. We advise you to treat this functionality with caution.

More information

Stay Smart Online has information on protecting your information and privacy.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.