Why (and how) to turn off Socialcam on Facebook

Socialcam, a new app that feeds user-generated and popular videos, is taking Facebook news feeds by storm, and here's why you'll want to turn it off.

When you click on any Socialcam link on Facebook and accept their app, every Socialcam video you watch from then on is shared to your Facebook friends automatically.

The content can be questionable, the titles of the videos are often very salacious, and embarrassment can ensue with the images it posts on your timeline, all without any notice to you and your account.

"PJ O'Keefe watched Giant Shark Washes Up On the Ocean"

Not my most embarrassing of video choices, but consider that even if you accidentally click on a video or click to see an enlarged thumbnail out of curiosity, your friends will know instantly.

As Becky Worley of Yahoo! reports , many of the videos are what the industry refers to as click-bait or link-bait: Outrageously titled pieces that don't exactly deliver what the titles imply. Videos that Worley dug up are titled in a seriously provocative manner. Some she lists are "Officer vs. Gangsta Thug in Brawl," "How to Steal 23 MacBook Pros, 14 iPhones, and 9 iPods In 31 Seconds," and "Toyota Supra Drifting Unbuttons A Girl's Shirt."

There is a lot of cleavage, a lot of unattractive exposure of body parts, and stuff that you just won't necessarily want your friends, family and coworkers to know you're watching.

Worley reports the CEO of Socialcam, Michael Siebel, says they do not allow pornography or excessively violent videos into the app, but the titles and icons associated with the videos are what your friends see on Facebook, and they do more damage to your reputation than in the videos themselves.

And users are too often unaware that their potentially embarrassing views are being shared. According to Worley's Facebook news feed, a coworker of hers watched a video titled "Stupid Guy Hits Girlfriend." A professional she does business with watched a video about a girl going topless, and a relative of Worley's watched a video of a man supposedly being eaten by a snake. And many Facebook users are seeing the same types of things, or worse.

Do you really want your friends to know you watched a video of a large man shooting a gun with a title such as this?

"We are working to make users more aware of what they are sharing and of the tools available to control sharing," the CEO Siebel told Worley.

It's for the best: Turn off Socialcam and watch what you share.

Here's how to turn it off, but there is a catch:

1. Go to Facebook and on the left hand column under apps double-click Socialcam

2. Once in the Socialcam app itself, in the upper right hand corner, choose Settings.

3. Then in Settings, scroll down to "Auto Sharing" and unclick both the Facebook options. Scroll down again and hit SAVE.

4. One thing that is troubling about this app is that when you turn off public sharing in Socialcam on your computer but watch a video on your mobile device, the settings revert to make all the activity public. Turning the settings back to private and testing it by watching another video on a different computer in a new browser, Socialcam again turns the settings back to public sharing. Also, it seems every time you open the settings for Socialcam, it reverts back to public.

5. A workaround: Go the app section of Facebook , choose settings for Socialcam and where it asks "who can see this activity" choose "Only Me."

6. Or just flat out delete the app from your Facebook profile and go directly to their website instead so you aren't watching any videos that will be shared and might embarrass you.

Siebel told Worley these were bugs and they have fixed some of these features, but he also says that they are tweaking the privacy settings and that many of these "bugs" are in flux.

Watch whatever you want, it's your time, your Internet and your choices, but you just might not want to be sharing every one of those choices.

To read Yahoo!'s full report on Socialcam, visit http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upgrade-your-life/embarrassing-socialcam-shares-prevent-them-185909023.html .

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