Back in the 90ies, more than a dozen search engines fought for the user’s attention. A couple of years later (almost) only Google was left. Do we face a similar development in the field of social networking? Taking a look at the latest Facebook figures, I’m inclined to answer this question with yes. Yet their ever-growing social graphs make more and more users nervous, and even though Facebook in my opinion is doing a good job giving the user control over his content, Reclaimprivacy.org might come in handy.
Just drag their bookmarklet to your browser, log into Facebook and click on the new link. The result is a top-bar containing the results of the privacy scanner:
Fearful user might suspect some phishing action going on here – but fear not, the tool is open source, so code-savy folks can take a look or even contribute. The scanner offers no new functionalities – basically, it’s just a central view of all of Facebook’s privacy settings.
Don’t over-interpret the results though: while the red color and the word “insecure” suggest imminent danger, take a look at the detail settings or you might make your profile less accessible than desired. For example, the script warns you about “information that your friends can accidentally share”. This is not necessarily a bad thing though: I definitely want my videos, my links and my photos to be sharable. Even my weblog URL is not a secret :frog:
In other words: use with caution. Don’t forget you’re on Facebook to communicate in the first place. And by the way: technical glitches happen all the time, new bugs give programmers a headache. Plus nobody likes a bully, so the safest strategy is not to post any offensive material on Facebook – just keep that in mind and you’re pretty much in the clear, even without the help of Reclaimprivacy.org.