MyPermissions offers one-stop shop to clean up social media permissions

Filed Under: Data loss, Facebook, Featured, Privacy, Social networks, Twitter

A new site, MyPermissions.org, makes it easy to herd a posse of wild cats - aka the hoard of applications and sites to which we've granted permission to access our information on Twitter, Facebook and more.

Check which applications and websites you've granted permission to access your social media accounts

MyPermissions doesn't ask for your personal information or login details, thank goodness. Otherwise, it would be a phishing goldmine.

Rather, the site simply offers a handy set of links to permissions lists. It also allows you to easily revoke access from the permissions pages.

On top of that, MyPermissions offers a reminder service: a monthly email via ifttt that prompts you to check your permissions.

Of course, you can set up a reminder on your own calendar and bookmark permissions pages on your own, but MyPermissions is a handy place to do it all from one spot.

Clicking through to different sites' lists of permissions is an eye-opener. Do you know, offhand, how many applications can access your Facebook information, for example?

I was a trifle surprised to find that I've granted permission to 15 Facebook applications. I thought it sounded high until I read a comment from PStamatiou on a Hacker News thread about MyPermissions:

Nice! Just revoked access to about 40 things on Twitter, 30 on Flickr, 15 on Google, a handful on LinkedIn, 11 on dropbox, and about 150 (yikes!) on Facebook.

150 applications can access Pstamatiou's personal information on Facebook??? Yikes indeed!

Of course, there are many legitimate apps and websites which you can give permission to connect with your account - but that doesn't mean you have to have a free-for-all.

Remember, any application that gets permission to access your profile information potentially puts that information at risk. And, in the case of Facebook, it could put your friends' information at risk, as well.

App settings on Facebook

Any permissions can be dangerous, but Facebook is particularly worrisome, given the high number of users who are happy to give their personal information to strangers.

As Sophos found when it contacted 200 Facebook users posing as a plastic frog back in 2007, 87 responded, with 82 - or 41% - leaking personal information when they did so.

That personal information can be used for identity theft. It can be used for a mind-boggling array of other nastiness, as well. Bill Pringle has a nice compilation page of Facebook security issues, but lest we forget, the other social media sites can be used in similar mischievous ways.

Revoke access to an app on TwitterAs Tim O'Reilly Tweeted about the site (the site proudly displays said Tweet on its home page), MyPermissions is an excellent idea. "Treat your permissions with respect," Mr. O'Reilly advises.

I wholeheartedly agree. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to choke a few Facebook applications in their cradles before they turn out to be monsters.

And please, feel free to let us know what surprises you in your permissions page.

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25 Responses to MyPermissions offers one-stop shop to clean up social media permissions

  1. Liz · 836 days ago

    REALLY UN-informative...Thank You?!?! You've given us NO advice beyond your usual (understood) here...not good for someone we're just sharing with today! Thanks anyway!

    • I think the advice is: Remove any apps/websites you don't recognise from your list of permissions.

      If you used to use the site/app but don't anymore, it may be worth zapping it.

      Hope that helps. If you have any other questions which we can help answer, we're happy to assist!

      • Lisa Vaas · 835 days ago

        Thanks, Graham, and sorry, Liz. What Graham said is exactly what I should have said in the original post—guess I was running low on caffeine at day's end. My bad!

  2. PCPaul · 836 days ago

    Link to MyPermissions not working

    • Working here for me - http://mypermissions.org

      Which browser and which version are you using?

      • Lulu · 835 days ago

        Google chrome. there is no such site according to chrome.

      • rjbruce · 835 days ago

        Not working for me either, using Chrome and IE9, looks like it might have died a horrible death....

    • cazfi · 835 days ago

      Works for me but not for my friend in another town. For him "mypermissions.org" resolves to different IP than for me. Maybe IP has just changed, and it's still not updated to all DNS servers. Another twist is that when accessing directly with IP I get results in another site - I guess something like VirtualHosts are used to serve correct site from the server in that IP.

  3. How Disappointing · 835 days ago

    Link to http://mypermissions.org not working, using Google Chrome....I get this message "Oops! Google Chrome could not find mypermissions.org"

    any suggestions?

  4. Julie Lawrence · 835 days ago

    Is there no utility to make revoking app permissions easier? It takes so long to do it one by one!

  5. Ohlmann · 835 days ago

    I have DNS issues too, making me unable to reach the site. I am in Europea (France).

  6. Maureen Yeomans · 835 days ago

    I don't allow any apps - haven't for some time and live happily without them.

  7. joker · 835 days ago

    http://mypermissions.org dosen't work with firefox 9.0

  8. Clearly some folks are having problems accessing the MyPermissions website, so here's a quick list of the links that they point you to - if you want to check your permissions:

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=application...

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/settings/connections

    Google: https://www.google.com/accounts/IssuedAuthSubToke...

    Yahoo: https://api.login.yahoo.com/WSLogin/V1/unlink?.in...

    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/secure/settings?userAgre...

    DropBox: https://www.dropbox.com/account#applications

    Instagram: https://instagr.am/oauth/manage_access

    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/services/auth/list.gne?from...

    Hope that helps!

    • Dante · 835 days ago

      Yeah, I was just about to write that all the links should be to the HTTPS versions of those URLs!

      PS: The site loads fine on all my browsers.

    • jake · 835 days ago

      Thanx 4 bein human......

  9. Fred · 835 days ago

    Thanks for being on the edge with important info! MyPermissions.org makes it easy! Link works fine. Only found two stray apps, but that's two too many that are gone now!

  10. Miguel C · 835 days ago

    works fine for me!

  11. julie bennett · 835 days ago

    this is good site to prevent unwanted things

  12. Nigel · 835 days ago

    Here's the tally for the six networks in which I have accounts:

    1. Yahoo account: flickr had access - Removed

    2. LinkedIn account was accessible by:
    • Events (by LinkedIn)
    • Reading List by Amazon
    • Polls by LinkedIn
    All access removed

    3. flickr account: No access by any apps

    4. facebook account: No access by any apps

    5. Dropbox account: No access by any apps

    6. Google account: No access by any apps

    Thanks for the informative article Lisa. Helpful and easy to understand, as usual.

    By the way, I had no problem accessing mypermissions.org from any of the following browsers:
    - SeaMonkey
    - Firefox
    - Safari
    - Camino
    - Chrome
    - Chromium

  13. Chicago Mary · 835 days ago

    Only needed to delete four overall. None on Facebook. Thanks, Sophos, for this reminder.

  14. Haeze · 835 days ago

    The other option is... just don't publish anything to these sites that is all that personal. Honestly ? What do I care if people can see all of my photos, and status updates ? My rule is: if it really is that private, don't put it on the internet.

  15. Marti · 833 days ago

    Well, I went to the site, and clicked on Facebook first. And what did they request right off the bat? My login details and password. >.<

    • That's *Facebook* asking you for those details.. You have to be logged in (for obvious reasons) to view/edit your Facebook settings.

  16. edtruitt · 832 days ago

    What surprised me was how many apps had permissions on Facebook, and how many of them had not been used in a long time (> 3 months.) Needless to say, those were revoked immediately.

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About the author

I've been writing about technology, careers, science and health since 1995. I rose to the lofty heights of Executive Editor for eWEEK, popped out with the 2008 crash, joined the freelancer economy, and am still writing for my beloved peeps at places like Sophos's Naked Security, CIO Mag, ComputerWorld, PC Mag, IT Expert Voice, Software Quality Connection, Time, and the US and British editions of HP's Input/Output. I respond to cash and spicy sites, so don't be shy.