A Facebook Privacy Tool, Finally

We need a Facebook Privacy Tool that isn’t written by Facebook. Currently, to effectively manage your privacy on Facebook, you’ve got to alter 50 settings with more than 170 options.

Maybe that is why Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg confessed on Monday that the quickly expanding social network had “missed the mark” when it comes to its complex privacy controls — and pledged to do better.

Can you imagine keeping up with all your Privacy Settings every time Facbook makes a change? Until Facebook figures it out, a new Privacy Awareness Group—ReclaimPrivacy.org, has developed a tool that scans your Facebook privacy settings to tell you how secure your personal information is. The tool comes in the form of a bookmark for your web browser.  Start by dragging the bookmark from the website above to your bookmarks/favorites. Then, log into your Facebook account, go to the privacy settings screen and click on the bookmark. After the tool scans your privacy settings in six areas—Facebook’s Instant Personalization feature; your personal data; contact information; friends, tags, and connections; what your friends can share about you; and whether applications can leak your personal data—it tells you what areas are secure and where you may want to consider tweaking your settings.

If you have received any sort of [intlink id=”1261″ type=”post”]fraud training[/intlink], I am sure you are thinking: How do I know that ReclaimPrivacy.org will respect my privacy and isn’t just trying to get access to my personal Facebook page? Great question. The Website says it never sees your Facebook data nor does it share your personal information (take this for what you will). It also publishes the source code for its scanning tool in the name of transparency (the experts at PCWorld/MacWorld checked this out and found it to be sound).

After the scan is complete,  this window (above) rises to the top and shows three levels of concern. Green means you are secure, Yellow means you could tighten your settings, and Red means you are at high risk. It provides helpful links to guide you to the pages where you need to tighten your settings.

It is recommended that you perform this scan in all browsers you use (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.). Users have noted that they get different results in different web browsers. This brings up an important point about this tool and other privacy tools – nothing works flawlessly and nothing replaces good old-fashioned human involvement. This tool is a starting point to simplify the process, but don’t let it be the only tool. Take time to manually investigate your Facebook Privacy.

Although Zuckerberg has promised privacy changes to better suit Facebook users in the coming weeks, perhaps this tool can help users rest easy in the mean time.

Order your copy of the Facebook Safety Survival Guide to make sure you and your children are protected online.

John Sileo helps corporations tackle social networking privacy concerns. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

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