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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

HOW TO: Reclaim Your Privacy on Facebook

Facebook is at the center of a privacy debate following the web-wide release of “Like” buttons, with some users ready to ban together to quit Facebook altogether. For those concerned about privacy but looking for a less drastic alternative, there’s a new tool you can use to reclaim your privacy on Facebook.

Reclaim Privacy is an open-source browser-based privacy scanner that automatically inspects your Facebook privacy settings and denotes settings that are risky privacy-wise.

Concerned Facebookers can drag the Scan for Privacy bookmarklet to their browser’s bookmarks toolbar, log in to Facebook and click to see which settings “might be unexpectedly public.”

The results of the privacy scan are displayed above your profile. The scan detects whether or not you’ve opted-in to Instant Personalization, assesses what types of information personal, contacts, tags, friends, etc. you share with your social circle and beyond, and also detects what your friends and/or applications can share about you. Higher risk items are called out with red “insecure” alert buttons and links to the appropriate destination to alter your settings.

The bookmarklet is simple to use and perfect for those of us confused by Facebook’s overwhelming array of privacy options. Of course, to use the tool you have to trust Reclaim Privacy not to violate your privacy, but the company promises that, “we never see your Facebook data” and “we never share your your personal information.”

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