Facebook's 'Instant Personalisation': How to disable it and why.

Facebook launches 'Instant Personalisation' today (02/02/2011).  This new feature is designed to break down the walls between the social network of Facebook and more traditional web sites.  It's supposed to let these external web sites have access to some of yours and your friends Facebook data.  Facebook claim that in doing this, they make your whole web experience a place that you apparently 'share' with your friends - you and your friends interests are shared with the site and that site content is then tailored to you when you visit.  However, this is also raising serious privacy concerns as more and more of your data will be copied - and stored - elsewhere on the Internet without you being aware of it.

How It Works
Provided at some point while you have been browsing you have logged in to Facebook, certain web sites (such as Bing and TripAdvisor) can personalise the pages you see on their sites with information they have taken from your Facebook account.  Any information marked as available to 'Everyone' on Facebook will now become available to these web sites - for example your name, or your birthday, or what your friend thought of a city you are planning to visit.

Facebook is currently working with certain partner sites (such as Bing, TripAdvisor, and Scribd) and there will be notifications for you on your first visit to these sites to disable this sharing.  This is assuming, of course, that these and future external sites adhere to Facebook's code of conduct....

Now, what people may NOT realise is that when it is introduced on Facebook, 'Instant Personalisation' will enabled by default.  Now I would have preferred to have been given the chance to positively opt-in to this new feature, rather than find out when I go to Bing that they already have access to my data!

How to disable "Instant Personalisation"
Luckily, Facebook have provided a facility to disable 'Instant Personalisation' and I present below the simple steps needed to turn it off:
  1. On your Facebook page go to the top right of the window and click on Account.  From the drop-down list, click on Privacy Settings
  2. On the next screen you see, go to the bottom left and click on Edit Your Settings under "Apps and Websites"
  3. On the next screen you see, click the Edit Settings button to the right of 'Instant Personalisation'
  4. Close the short video clip that pops up to introduce the feature
  5. Now simply untick the tick box at the bottom left labelled Enable instant personalisation on partner websites.
Note that Instant Personalisation is not yet available to everyone, so if the last option is greyed out you should retry in a few hours or a few days time - or if you see a notification pop up from one of the partner web sites.

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