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Do your Facebook friends know what you're reading?

I just read the U.K. Guardian article : "Hugh Jackman: 'What are ya — a poof?'" and thanks to "frictionless sharing," and I didn't to leave Facebook to do it.

The social network's growing list of media partners — such as the Guardian, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal — let you  access their news streams on Facebook. All you have to do is accept their third-party application.

Because I accepted the Guardian's app, I now know that "the way Hugh Jackman tells it, he had to be stopped from giving Wolverine jazz hands." What's more, now all my Facebook friends know I read that, too. It'll show up in that ticker on the right side of the Facebook page.

No bigs — I'm not ashamed to let the world know I loves me some Wolverine. But if I skip around Guardian's news stories, and click on another Guardian story, say "How to eliminate poop splash" — my Facebook friends will see I read that as well.

I only need to give a media app permission once to share what I'm reading with my Facebook friends, and it'll share everything I click via Facebook. What's more, my friends can then share that article with their friends, and then they'll know what I'm reading, too.  And if they don't see what I'm reading there, they might see it on the activity feed on the Guardian's Facebook app page.

Thanks to Facebook’s new media applications, you too could be blasting friends' walls with what you're reading. If enough of your friends read about Hugh Jackman or, say, "Poop splash," the higher that story gets in your News Feed. "Poop splash," of course, is an extreme example of oversharing, but even articles on politics, religion and even housekeeping can be something you'd rather not share.

The good news is, you can control this onslaught of reading material at both ends — you can stop how much you're sharing with your friends, and you can hide how much your friends are sharing with you. As with most things on Facebook, you just have to pay attention and take some action.

How to stop (or limit) sharing articles you read on Facebook 

If you're sharing articles you're reading on Facebook, it's because you actively opted in to one of Facebook's media apps. As many Facebook users know, it's pretty easy opt in to third-party apps on Facebook and then forget about them. It's also pretty easy to opt out — or limit — what you're sharing. Here's what you do:

  • Select Account Settings from the drop-down menu at the upper-right corner of your Facebook page.
  • On the far-left side of Account Settings page, click Apps.
  • There you can remove apps you don’t want accessing your account, or you can customize the privacy settings.
  • To customize the privacy, click on the app you want to adjust.
  • Click the Custom drop-down menu within the app’s profile.
  • Click the second Custom setting within the drop-down menu to further control who sees what you’re reading.
  • There you can customize exactly who can see what you’re reading.

Note: Anyone who you allow to see the story you’re reading can then share it, potentially allowing others to see your name associated with the story.

Filtering the stories your Facebook friends are reading from your News Feed is a little more tedious:

  • First you have to wait for those stories to show up in your News Feed.
  • When the story shows up, move your mouse to the upper-right corner of the post until the drop-down menu appears. From there, you can:
  • Unmark as top story
  • Hide story
  • Report story or spam
  • You can also chose to see less post from that particular person via that same menu. 

More on the annoying way we live now:  

Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about the Internet. Tell her to get a real job on Twitter and/or FacebookAlso, Google+.