James Mayes

Blog: New Facebook privacy change – Instant Personalisation

In Facebook, Social Media on January 8, 2011 at 7:33 am

As happens regularly, Facebook are once again updating the way privacy settings are used to control access to your data – and it’s release to third-party websites.  In this case, the changes focus on what Facebook consider to be non-sensitive public information – such as movie ratings and music tastes.

By making this wealth of information available to commercial sites who focus on music and movies, Facebook can monetise the data. In turn, such sites can use the information to show you films and albums based on the things you and your friends have already talked about on Facebook.  This may well result in a more refined web shopping experience for you in future.  It might also leave you with concerns as to which sites are getting the data in the first place.

Facebook call this service Instant Personalisation.  The roll-out is happening gradually (it’s already live for some of my friends in the USA, it’s not hit my account yet). I’m not going to cast judgement (yet!) on whether I think this is a positive change – but I’ll offer you a link to the video where Facebook explain more.

As with many Facebook settings, it’s buried deep within the privacy menu, and I doubt Facebook will shout loudly when it goes live on your account. It is enabled by default and Facebook would like you to leave it that way. If you want to check whether it’s live for you – or disable it in future – this is where to look.

First, click on your account menu, top left of screen.  Then open the Privacy Settings tab.  This opens the privacy page, where you’ll be looking for the Apps & Websites option on the bottom-left, as pictured.  

Near the bottom of this section, you’ll find the option to Edit Settings for the Instant Personalisation service, as show.

Once you’ve clicked Edit Settings, Facebook will show you whether Instant Personalisation is live on your account (mine isn’t yet).  If you wish to disable, remove the tick and Save Changes.

As always, share this post if you think it’s useful – and if I missed anything important, please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

  1. Very important topic James. It’s vital that have the option to consider each step FB and the like take to erode our privacy. If we don’t resist, decisions will be taken on our behalf, but not in our interests.

    PS. I can’t believe I actually blogged on a techy topic before you, if only by a few hours. ;0) http://ayeright.com

  2. I turned off instant personalisation way back, before it ‘became live on my account’ but now the box is ticked again but disabled. I’m very annoyed that they automatically changed my settings, even if its technically not working yet.

    • Unfortunately, I’ve noticed over the years that this is a regular occurrence. I’ve also come across instances of people creating a new photo album, altering the privacy on that to their required level, and subsequently finding that it affects the privacy setting for their main status. I try to blog the main changes I see, but if you use Facebook and are concerned about privacy, you really have no choice other than to review all your settings on a regular basis and ensure they are as you require.

  3. […] of the most recent apps in use, plus some other privacy settings. Instant Personalisation is one I blogged about recently, thought it’s not yet live on my account. Next to the short list of recent […]

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