Have you ever lived on a farm? Fought snakes and bears in the hopes of finding gold in the wilderness? How about taken over the crime family that deals cocaine in your area? No?
Those of you looking to break away from your quiet, ordinary lives can give those alternative careers -- or many, many others -- a shot through your Facebook account. Social gaming, games played with friends on social networking sites like Facebook, has exploded in popularity.
Zynga, the company that developed some of the most popular Facebook games, including FarmVille, Mafia Wars and FrontierVille, explains on its Web site its vision that "play -- like search, share and shop -- would become one of the core activities on the Internet" [source: Zynga].
And Zynga's vision has come true. According to recent stats, more than 55 million people played FarmVille -- the most popular Facebook game -- in February 2011 [source: Facebook]. But Zynga isn't the only developer of games and apps for Facebook. According to the social networking site, anyone can sign up to be a game developer [source:Facebook].
If you're a member of Facebook, at times it might seem as if everyone is a developer or at least a player of one of these social games. You may think it's impossible to get away from people seeking help harvesting their crops or concocting homebrew in their stills.
The good news is, once you're ready to leave behind your life of crime, farming or homesteading and go back to your real job and everyday existence, you can block and delete games and other apps from your Facebook page pretty easily.
When you're ready to leave your virtual career behind, take a deep breath and read on. The next page will walk you through the steps to deleting Facebook games.
Deleting and Blocking Facebook Games
Once you're sick to death of harvesting peas, roughing it on the frontier or dodging bullets from rival drug gangs, it is possible to delete games from Facebook. Games are a type of app, so you can use this same information to get rid of any other apps you no longer need.
This step-by-step guide will help you retire from farming or allow you to give up a life of crime:
- Log in to your Facebook account.
- Click on the "account" tab at the top right of the page.
- Select "privacy settings" from the list on the left.
- At the bottom of the page, under "apps and Web sites," choose "edit your settings."
- On the "choose your privacy settings" page, click the "edit settings" box that corresponds with "apps you use."
- Once the list of apps you use comes up, click the X to the right of the game you wish to remove.
- You will be asked to confirm that you wish to delete the game.
- Once you confirm, the game will no longer appear on your profile or apps page and will not have access to your information.
Maybe you still enjoy your life on the frontier but are tired of people asking for your help with their gang wars? There are a couple of ways to keep game notifications from showing up on your Facebook page. The easiest method is to hide them.
Next time a posting from a game shows up your wall that you don't ever want to see again, follow these steps:
- Click the X next to the post on your home page.
- Select "Hide all … ".
- This will keep all notifications from that game, app or person -- if you want to hide someone -- from showing up on your home page.
So now you know how to delete games, but were they ever a good idea to begin with? On the next page, we'll explore the security of Facebook games and apps.
A Question of Security
Facebook has struggled in the past with keeping users' personal information secure [source: Worth]. In fact, a Facebook security breach specifically involving apps and games was found by Symantec, the computer security firm, in May 2011 but has been corrected [source: CNN]. It's believed that no private user information was shared, and steps have been taken to upgrade to a more secure system for developers to use for games and apps on Facebook.
Does this mean that you shouldn't play social games on Facebook? And if you do, what can you do to protect yourself from identity theft? This page explores both of those questions.
Playing a game on Facebook takes you to a different Web site from Facebook.com. This means each game operates by its own privacy rules. Facebook offers a number of tips to help ensure the security of your personal information before you sign on to play their games [source: Facebook]:
- Periodically review the games you use and delete the ones you longer play. You can find these on Facebook's apps page (follow the instructions on the previous page of this article for deleting games and apps).
- Report games and apps that you suspect are not using your information in an appropriate manner. The "report/contact this app" link at the bottom of each game or app page will allow you to do so.
Still unsure? Links to lots more information about how to delete games or keep yourself secure on Facebook can be found on the next page.
- Facebook Game Center. "List of the 10 Most Popular Facebook Games." Feb. 14, 2011. (July 5, 2011) http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-game-center/list-of-the-10-most-popular-facebook-games/198474696831258
- Facebook. "Information for Developers." (July 7, 2011) https://developers.facebook.com/
- Facebook. "Staying Safe with Apps." (July 5, 2011) http://www.facebook.com/safety/tools/apps/
- Facebook Security page. "Security Quiz." (July 7, 2011) https://www.facebook.com/security
- Gross, Doug. "The Facebook games that millions love (and hate)." CNN. Feb. 23, 2010. (July 7, 2011) http://articles.cnn.com/2010-02-23/tech/facebook.games_1_mark-pincus-video-games-facebook?_s=PM:TECH
- Gross, Doug. "Facebook apps leaked users' information, security firm says." CNN. May 11, 2011. (July 9, 2011) http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-11/tech/facebook.information.leak_1_facebook-accounts-facebook-platform-facebook-users?_s=PM:TECH
- Worth, Dan. "Facebook flaw exposes private information." Itnews. May 6, 2010 (July 9, 2011) http://www.itnews.com.au/News/173906,facebook-flaw-exposes-private-information.aspx
- Zynga. "About Zynga." (July 7, 2011) http://www.zynga.com/about/index.php