The new Facebook game ticker is either a huge boon or a huge bust for avid gamers on the social network. For this geek–while it was great to see who the other gaming addicts were among friends–I didn’t like sacrificing my own personal privacy. I’m also willing to bet that many of my other friends feel the same way, it’s just they simply don’t know how to remove those updates about themselves. They are hugely annoying as they let other people know exactly what game you were playing at exactly what time… and worst of all how many times a day you’d been playing… Not good during regular work hours.
At first, I tried editing the application settings but if you try to restrict the updates to show to “Me Only” or similar, you won’t be able to utilize the social aspects of many games like asking for a brick part in Farmville and the like. Friends will no longer see these so you’d be publishing to no one but yourself. Plus, even with this setting it still did not prevent the annoying “X is Playing Y” updates from showing up automatically every time I launched Cityville.
By chance today, I hovered over one of my game statuses in the Facebook game ticker and out popped a dialog to the left. You can comment or like this just like you would any regular Facebook status but there is a small “V” icon in the upper right hand corner that is the salvation to all privacy-advocate gamers everywhere.
If you click on this tiny little “V”, another dialog pops up and here’s the hidden setting that lets you banish these game updates from ever showing up again on the game ticker. The very last option is to “Don’t publish ‘is Playing XXX’ posts” which you can select to block once and for all the privacy invasion that is the Facebook game ticker.
Do this for every game application of yours on the ticker. I have confirmed that this works with a friend… he no longer saw my game updates published automatically though one did slip through. A re-ban fixed it right up so maybe I might simply have missed it. Again, this solution isn’t the same as hiding your game updates on your news feed or wall, this setting is for the game ticker only.
On a related note, if you’ve quit playing a game and no longer wish to see your friend’s ticker updates you can similarly hover over that friend’s status and select “Hide all by XXX.” You may also want to do this if you simply don’t play that game at all.
Why Facebook couldn’t make it easier to find or do this (like in the app settings as any normal person would expect) is most likely by design. They aren’t a bunch of dummies and probably thought the game ticker would increase social gameplay activity or boost interaction with the site. Even at the cost of privacy, Facebook is a business and not your friend.