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, 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:

Reclaim your Facebook Privacy

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