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Tips and tricks to fix Facebook

Alleviate common problems on the social network

If you like Facebook but don't like the way it handles privacy and annoying applications, here are some simple fixes.

Too many applications
You've reconnected with your university mates and second cousins on Facebook. You're interested in knowing what they're up to these days - but all they want is to send you virtual strawberries, engage in a digital mafia war or trade stickers and decals. Such applications can be fun diversions or annoying distractions. If you encounter the latter, the newsfeed offers a 'hide' button, but that doesn't stop an application's updates from appearing on your friends' walls, or stop friends from asking you to join the fun.

The fix: Block or filter the applications
Blocking an application means you will never give it another opportunity to interact with your profile, be it via friends' invitations or posts on other people's walls.

To block a Facebook application that has appeared in your newsfeed, click on its name, as if you want to engage in whatever activity it's inviting you to. The next page should be a 'Request for Permission'. Click on the app's name and you'll be brought to the app's home page, which has 'Block Application' among the list of options in the upper left-hand corner. (The F.B. Purity plug-in makes this process easier by adding a 'Block App' button next to any application updates in your newsfeed.)

One draconian alternative is to disable the entire Facebook application platform, a step that will not only pre-emptively block all Facebook applications, but also uninstall any app you've ever used. Under the 'Account' menu, click 'Privacy Settings' then 'Edit your settings for using applications, games and websites', which will bring you to a screen with the option to 'Turn off all platform applications'.

If you want to retain access to applications but not be bombarded by updates, Better Facebook can be configured to remodel the newsfeed into a tabbed interface that separates applications from actual news.

Keeping game updates private
Admit it - you actually like FarmVille, Bejeweled and the many other game applications that Facebook offers. But you don't want to bother your co-workers with gaming updates - especially if you're playing during office hours!

The fix: Control your app settings
Within your privacy settings, choose to edit the settings for applications and web sites. The setting 'Game and application activity' lets specific individuals see - or be blocked from seeing - application-related updates.

You may also want to check individual application settings Facebook applications integrate with several aspects of your profile, and these permissions often can be enabled or disabled independently of each other. Check to see which applications have optional permission to 'Post to my Wall', and disable as needed.

NEXT PAGE: Showing your friends list

  1. Alleviate common problems on the social network
  2. Too many applications
  3. Showing your friends list
  4. Searching your wall history
  5. Problems that don't have a fix
  6. The ultimate fix

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