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Creeper Alert: Four Apps That Make Me Want to Deactivate My Facebook

TMCnet Feature

June 26, 2013

Creeper Alert: Four Apps That Make Me Want to Deactivate My Facebook

By Rachel Ramsey
TMCnet Web Editor

Despite the billions of users that sign into Facebook (News - Alert) every day, I’ve heard my fair share of complaints from my peers about how creepy the social network is. For starters, let’s just talk about how “stalking” has become a socially acceptable term when it comes to browsing our news feeds and virtual friends accounts – as in, “I was Facebook stalking and I found out” or “I saw it when I was stalking her on Facebook.” Not to mention Facebook keeps data stored for many years, like all of the friend requests you rejected, the friends you have unfriended, the devices you have logged into Facebook from and who also uses those devices, records of pokes, event invites and RSVPs and a history of messages and chats.

So, while I am an avid social media user and have always been active in sharing what’s happening in my life, I don’t blame people for wanting to keep their personal life, well, personal. Sure, you can update your privacy settings and customize them to keep different people away from different content and updates, but let’s be real; there are hackers who can make their way into highly secure networks like those of the FBI, media outlets and well-known brands. What makes you think your Facebook data is locked down in some unhackable vault?

I could go on in a self-argument about the pros and cons of Facebook security and user sharing habits, but my beef isn’t with the network itself today. Today, it’s with four third-party apps that seem to be competing for the creepiest third-party Facebook app spot.

1.        On the Rebound -- “Use Facebook Data to Find the Perfect Time to Score a Friend On the Rebound!”

Remember the scene in The Social Network when Mark’s lab partner asks him if a girl is single? This is the moment when Zuckerberg realized Facebook would attract and retain users if it offered information and opportunity on their love interests. That feature, the relationship status for profiles, has come a long way. Joining the world of Bang with Friends, iWould and other similar apps, On the Rebound helps you figure out when the right move is to make a move.

Step one, select your love interest. (“They won’t know, and we won’t tell them if you don’t.”) You can filter the selection based on gender and relationship status (single, divorced or separated) and it will analyze stats and data based on their Facebook relationship history to generate a “rebound rating.”

The app takes into account how long your friends have been single as well as how often they have entered relationships and the average length of those relationships. A con for the app and it’s users who are seriously using this as a guide for when to make moves on crushes is that it’s only helpful if users actually update this information. The app also offers an advice section, which can include, “Go for it!” “You know that strangle place where she starts talking to you about other guys? It’s called ‘The Friend Zone’ and you, my friend, are in it” or “Loneliness + Depression = Opportunity.”

2.       Badabing -- “Have you ever browsed endlessly through a friend's albums looking for beach or pool pics? Badabing! helps you find them in a minute. Then browse, bookmark or share!”

This $1.99 iOS app searches through Facebook photos of your friends and uses an image recognition algorithm that looks for skin to find photos taken on the beach or pool, especially those with people wearing bikinis. It also allows you to save, share and rate your favorite photos. You can search for specific friends and save their name under your search favorites.

Image via App Store

3.       Breakup Notifier – “You like someone. They're in a relationship. Be the first to know when they're out of it.”

Breakup Notifier is the modern version of your best friend calling you and asking, “Did you hear?! They broke up.” Users log in through the app, choose the friend they want to stalk keep track of, and voila, you will get e-mail notifications when the selected user’s relationship statuses change. When the app was first introduced in 2011, it accumulated more than 100,000 users in less than 24 hours, which quickly escalated to 3,673,484 just a few hours later. 

4.       Friend WatchDog – “Now I know what you did last Monday.”

No, I’m not kidding. As per Friend WatchDog’s website: “Friend WatchDog monitors the state of your friends on Facebook and Skype (News - Alert), stores the status changes on remote servers and lets you check when your friends have been online in the past week.”

The information that Friend WatchDog gathers is already available, sure. If you spent all day online, you could see this information for yourself. But Friend WatchDog lets you actually keep tabs on your friends and basically track their online movements, all in a scannable graph.

Image via Friend WatchDog

Circling this back to the headline, apps like these make me want to go and deactivate my Facebook right now. These apps gather information that’s already out there, but it creeps me out to see them collecting it for uses like these. However, the key to these apps, I repeat, is that they use information that’s already out there.

Facebook’s privacy and app settings are under General Account Settings. You can edit these to control who sees what posts you will post in the future as well as posts from the past. You can also prevent third-party apps your friends use (ie, Badabing) from accessing your personal information. Things Facebook considers public are you name, networks, profile and cover photos, gender and friends. If you want to block all access to apps, you can block all of this public information, but you won’t be able to use Facebook to sign into other websites. 

Play around with who can see your stuff, who can look you up and what your profile looks like to different users, including the public. You don’t want some creeper guy searching and saving bikini photos of you or some girl getting alerts every time you update your relationship status, do you? 

The apps discussed are available through the links below if you want to check them out.

On the Rebound
Breakup Notifier
Friend WatchDog

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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