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Game apps on Facebook raise privacy concerns

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Facebook privacy

DENVER — There’s new concern about privacy on Facebook, this time, concerning the games you link to the site.

The group PrivacyChoice ranked the most popular Facebook third-party apps by how much access they provide to tracking entities, which look at your online behavior to deliver more relevant ads.

“It’s tracking in every sense of the word. Where you are currently, what you’re currently doing, who you’re with,” said cyber security consultant Charles Tendell.

Most Facebook users know what they’re doing when they check in at a certain location, but most would never think games are essentially doing the same thing.

“It’s going to tag you with both your geographic location, somewhere in Aurora, or somewhere in Denver, and it posts that information wherever you allow it to post,” Tendell said.

How can you protect yourself? You don’t have to stop playing these games altogether, but when you want to play a game like Words With Friends, don’t do it through Facebook.

“They ask you ahead of time – may I use your geographic location? May I connect to your Facebook? May I connect to your Twitter account, and so on and so forth. You can say no to those,” Tendell said.

Facebook users we spoke with have seen this happen.

“Ads obviously being tailored to my interests, this clearly isn’t an advertisement that’s posted to just anybody,” said Jeremiah Berndt.

But most say right now, it’s just not a top concern.

“It is kind of scary to think that it is being tracked, but I think that it’s entertaining enough and I don’t think it’s harmful to me, because I just enjoy it either way,” said Moranda Ramirez.

Here are the most-used Facebook apps and how they rank, according to PrivacyChoice*:
— CityVille, 76
— Texas HoldEm Poker, 87
— MyCalendar, 80
— Hidden Chronicles, 79
— FarmVille, 82
— CastleVille, 76
— Angry Birds, 65
— Bubble Witch Saga, 92
— Words With Friends, 79
— Diamond Dash, 79

* 90 -100, most protective; 80 – 89, use with caution; 70 and below, least protective.

Source: App Data. PrivacyChoice.

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