Here's a suggested item for your weekend to-do list: review what apps have access to your Facebook data, then start deleting.
More specifically, take a close look at apps that let developers glom onto your personal information and then potentially share, or re-sell, that information to others.
To recap: this week's tech headlines have been all about Facebook and the crisis for the social network. The social network revealed that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had used vast amounts of data from Facebook to build profiles of American voters to help Donald Trump's campaign. Cambridge got the data via a researcher who created one of those seemingly harmless personality quiz apps that asked users to answer questions about their digital lives.
Facebook says it has stricter controls than it used to, and will now take a good, hard look at all its app developers to weed out abuses. You can take that at face value and either believe them, or be highly skeptical. (I'm in the latter camp.)
While you wait for Facebook to (hopefully) change, you can take action. Get rid of as many apps as you can now. (Check out our Talking Tech video here.)
Unfortunately, Facebook makes this really hard to do. More on that in a second.
Many Facebook users don't realize how often they've clicked a button to grant app developers access to their lives, ages and likes in exchange for the luxury of not having to register with e-mail addresses or other personal information. They grant sign-on access via Facebook with one click, and in turn, those app developers can get personal data.
The takeaway: It's smarter to register for access with the app itself, instead of using the Facebook sign-in.
In the meantime, check your Facebook setting to see how many apps have been granted access. I did this week, expecting the list to be around 100 or so. (I'm a tech reporter— check out apps all the time.) Instead, it nearly topped 400. Four hundred! From the ones that I actually use and like, like Airbnb, Booking.com and Gas Buddy to apps that have been dead for years, like Path, Phanfare and Revision 3.
To delete the apps, click the checkmark next to the question mark at the top right of the News Feed, select Settings, then Apps on the left-side menu, and then Apps, Websites and Plug-ins.
From there, take a look at who you've granted access to, and start deleting those apps you don's use.
Here's where you'll see just how difficult Facebook makes it. There is no Select All button, or even a way to select multiple apps at once. You'll have to delete each one, one by one, And each time, Facebook will say: "This will remove the app from your account, your bookmarks and the list of apps you use ." And then this kicker, that the app "may still have the data you shared with them." For information about removing this data, contact the developer, Facebook advises.
Facebook's messaging is the same for all apps, and you have to endure it with every delete.
"It's easier to get rid of a car that's a lemon and return it to the dealer than it is to get rid of Facebook apps," says Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with Kaleido Insights. "This is the Facebook business model. We are the inventory, and they're not going to let us just walk away."
But you can. It will just take some time. But it's worth it.