Facebook Privacy Settings Confusing You? There’s an App for That.

Of course there is.  There’s an app for damn near everything.  So given the rising chorus of complaints over Facebook changing it’s privacy settings with the onset of Open Graph, it’s only natural that someone would step into the breech with a digital solution.

That someone is ReclaimPrivacy.org, a shareware app written by a JavaScript developer who takes his own online privacy seriously, hiding his name and only offering that his full-time gig is running Olark: a lightweight app for websites that provides online chat capabilities.  On Reclaim Privacy’s simple page, they publish their full privacy policy:

“Our privacy policy is not long:

  • we never see your Facebook data
  • we never share your personal information”

Impressive.  Anyway, once you drag the app to your browser menubar, you open Facebook’s privacy settings then run the program.  Using a simple Red-Yellow-Green warning system, it suggests where you might want to change your settings.  The whole process is remarkably easy.  And reassuring, even if the cow is already out of the barn, so to speak.

Facebook has been under withering scrutiny lately as people rebel against founder Mark Zuckerberg’s silly statement that ‘privacy is no longer a social norm.’  He’s right, but he’s a fool for announcing that.

But 400 million Facebook members who don’t understand that nothing is free in this world and that hosting the world’s largest social party runs up enormous costs are being equally foolish, or at least willfully ignorant.  Facebook’s only asset is data, data we all agreed to sign over when we signed up.  For an insightful assessment of Facebook’s privacy follies, read this article B.L. Ochman wrote for Advertising Age.

If marketers learn anything from Zuckerberg’s troubles, it should be the singular value heavy web users place on transparency.  Because that can be so easily abused.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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