Facebook Uses A Cute Dinosaur To Teach Users About Privacy Settings

Digital privacy concerns are constantly making headlines. It’s no surprise in an era when consumers are being bombarded with new forms of social media ad campaigns or we’ve learned about the newest ways the NSA has been snooping on us. In this climate, social media companies have to expect users who wish to exercise greater control over their digital identities.

In an effort to educate users on privacy settings, Facebook has launched a new Privacy Checkup initiative to give you the ultimate control over your social media interactions and sharing policies. The little blue dinosaur mascot that guides you through the Privacy Checkup has been whimsically deemed the “Zuckersaurus” by the tech journalism community.

Over the next few weeks, Facebook says that users will begin noticing the blue dinosaur across the full website (and not on mobile versions yet). If your status update settings are marked “Public,” the Zuckersaurus will ask if you truly want to share your pictures and text with the World Wide Web or with just your friend networks. These little reminders will hopefully get people to check the privacy setting on individual posts more often. Their “Simplified Audience Selectors” strive to make your audience clear – choose to share your posts with the public, with friends, or with custom groups only with a simple drop-down menu.

So many third-party apps demand our Facebook credentials. It can be too easy to lose track of which you’re providing these permissions to. The Zuckersaurus will walk users through their App Settings, so that you can see exactly which services rely on your Facebook credentials. And now you can opt-out of using your Facebook credentials on third-party apps with the Anonymous Login feature. This awesome and mysterious black button prevents third-party apps from collecting your social networking information. This can cut down on unwanted status posts from third-party apps.

According to Facebook product manager Paddy Underwood, the Privacy Checkup has enjoyed high completion rates amongst users who have been selected to test out the educational service. Underwood told the Wall Street Journal that three-fourths of users have finished the checkup and have provided positive feedback for this feature. Hopefully this bodes well for the public release, which will be rolling out to all users during September.

Facebook’s dedication to user education and control could cut down on accidental sharing, which can result in personal and professional dramas. For example, many job seekers scour their social media before applying for work, worried that recruiters might find their old college drinking photos. Additionally, the anonymous login option reduces the amount of third-party access to your personal data, which could become vulnerable during data breaches.

Facebook is taking a unique step toward user education and support through its Privacy Checkup. These new features might become a mainstay on social media networks, as we become increasingly invested in sharing status updates. Keep an eye out for the cute blue dinosaur mascot throughout the month of September.