You would have to be pretty unplugged to have not heard all of the recent buzz about privacy issues with Facebook. If you're like me, you enjoy the benefits that Facebook offers for staying connected with friends and family. Sharing news, photos, opinions, links, Scrabble games, etc. is great, but I don't wish to share these with the entire world. Figuring out how to control Facebook's baroque privacy settings is not straightforward -- some say intentionally so.
This is why I love ReclaimPrivacy.org's Facebook privacy scanner. It's a free utility that you install by simply dragging a bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. Next, visit your Facebook privacy settings and click on the bookmarklet. The application scans your privacy settings relating to your status updates, personal information, tags, contacts, and applications. In moments it displays a report on your account at the top of the page.
Items flagged with "caution" or "insecure" are accompanied by links to the particular settings pages where you make adjustments to shore up security. Visit the links, tweak the settings, and go back and re-scan your account to check the success of your adjustments. Couldn't be easier.
The ReclaimPrivacy.org site notes that they are currently developing privacy scans for photos, which the scanner utility does not yet check. They also caution that Firefox currently has some compatibility issues that they are investigating, so for the moment it is best to use Internet Explorer, Safari, or Chrome.
If you are concerned about your privacy but not ready to cancel your Facebook account, give this application a try and tell your friends. Then connect with us at the Art and Art History Visual Resource Center's Facebook page. There we feature feeds from this blog and other information about our facility, which provides and facilitates access to images, imaging, and related information resources.