What is Facebook “basic info?”

Facebook “Basic Info” Means “basically everything.”

The odds are good that, at one time or another, you have probably downloaded and/or signed into a game, app, or website using your Facebook ID.  From Spotify to Instagram to some stupid cartoon vegetable game, you have seen the message that looks like this:

THIS APP WILL RECEIVE:

  • Basic Info
  • (a list of data from you facebook account)

You see it every time so you may have eventually asked your reflection on the screen in front of you, “I wonder what ‘basic info’ means.”

If you have asked this, then you’re in luck because I’m about to tell you. If you haven’t, go back to your life of blissful ignorance and enjoy. I will however, go on to detail what information you are allowing Apps to access and explain the implications of sharing this information.

What is Facebook “basic info?”

Facebook has several definitions of “basic info.” Surprisingly, the definition of “basic info” contains more than just the information that you submit in the “basic info” section of the “about” page of your profile.

The “Basic Info” section of your profile includes your:

  • Gender
  • Birthdate
  • Sexual preference
  • Relationship status
  • Languages you speak
  • Religion your
  • Political views

You know, the basic stuff, like all the things your mom told you not bring up in conversation at a party, but that’s not all…

Facebook’s Expanded Definition of “Basic Info”

The real reason that I took the time to write this and actually read through all of Facebook’s thrilling Data Use Policy is that I wanted to understand exactly how far Facebook broadens its definition of “basic info” when referring to the info Apps are able to access when you use Facebook to mediate your interaction.

So I eventually stumbled into this, “basic info” plus an extra-large side of everything:

Data Use Policy: Other Websites and Applications

So add to the “Basic Info” glob:

  • Your name
  • All your friend’s names
  • Something called “public information”

And because I wanted to be totally 100% sure about what Facebook’s definition of “public information” within its “basic info” definition, here’s the kicker:

“When we use the phrase “public information” (which we sometimes refer to as “Everyone information”), we mean the information you choose to make public, as well as information that is always publicly available…

Choosing to make your information public is exactly what it sounds like: anyone, including people off of Facebook, will be able to see it.”

Source: Full Data Use Policy

Its almost like they wrote the last line for me!

Everybody jump on the Privacy Policy Parade!

Everything you have set you privacy setting to “Public” including:

  • Every comment on your friends’ walls.
  • Every Picture
  • Your “Favorite” pages
  • Your “Liked” pages
  • Your recent App Activity
  • Your recent Locations

So to Facebook,  “basic info” means basically everything.

I think it was at this point that I was actually surprised. I wasn’t necessarily worried, but I was a little irritated. At least they exclude your messages. But I do have a problem with Facebook using of the term“basic info” to mean basically everything from your Facebook profile. The use of the term “basic info” is blatantly misleading when apps ask for your consent to release your
information.

The Implications of Sharing Your “Basic Info”

The implication of releasing you “basic info” to an App is essentially allowing apps to sell and or broadcast information. Beyond that, it is a complete release of your privacy. I don’t think I am reading the next statement from the privacy policy out of context when I say that you are pretty much allowing anyone you release you basic info to “re-share” your information without any regulation.

Just like when you share information by email or elsewhere on the web, information you share on Facebook can be re-shared. This means that if you share something on Facebook, anyone who can see it can share it with others, including the games, applications, and websites they use.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/your-info#public-info

On the flipside, the app owners are really not doing anything you aren’t already doing yourself except they are pretty much just yelling it out through a megaphone. You did, since you obviously read the whole privacy policy and it’s every subsequent update that was emailed to you, know what you were doing when you submitted your information to be displayed on Facebook.  At the end of the day, Facebook is just a website on Internet. It’s all accessible.

In Conclusion

Should you be worried? No, not really. As long as, and this is the key, you are smart about what information you share on Facebook and how you share it. The keyword is “share.” Facebook is great for sharing. It’s also great for uninhibitedly
releasing a ton of information.

So share more wisely. Be aware of the privacy setting you
that you set any piece of information that you are sharing on Facebook. Set
them appropriately or edit your information so it is what you would deem “public.”

But in all honestly, the danger of overexposure of you
personal information does not lie in the hands of app creators. They are far
more concerned about how to aggregate your information with people who are like you in order to make it easy for marketers and advertisers to sell stuff to
you.

Finally, it’s either all-in or all-out with information permissions with apps. Now you know what’s on the table. So be smart. Be careful with apps that monitor your location and know and trust your app.

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