If you haven’t noticed, “Facebook whining” has reached a crescendo in the past few weeks as the company continues to make changes that dribble bits of user information out onto the internet at large.
Instances of threatening to quit Facebook have been on an upswing, although statistics are not available as to how many people have followed through and abandoned the service. People are rightly concerned that Facebook keeps rejigging their user privacy settings every couple of weeks, as well as allowing choices your Facebook friends make without your knowledge or consent to affect the amount of information leaked by your Facebook profile. (So while you may always or usually avoid sketchy games and requests from strangers, a friend who does not can inadvertently expose your information.)
VentureBeat posted today about different privacy changes Facebook has made in the past few months, notably connecting and sharing your information with third-party sites like Yelp and Pandora:
In December, Facebook went through a privacy transition that defaulted content shared by users who had never adjusted their settings to public. It also recently made “likes” and “connections” more public and launched an instant personalization program that shared user data with special partners like Pandora and Yelp to offer more customized and social experiences on other sites.
…which might not be desireable if you don’t wish to release information to those sites or have no idea in which way they plan to use your data. The post highlights a bookmarklet created by “donation-based project” ReclaimPrivacy, which keeps an eye on your settings in the event of changes. If you drag the bookmarklet up to your bookmarks bar, when you log in to Facebook, the service will check to see if any of your privacy settings have been altered since your last login. VentureBeat says:
ReclaimPrivacy focuses on six primary areas:
- Whether your personal information is restricted to your friends or closer
- Whether your contact information is exposed to the entire Internet
- Whether all of your friends, tags and connections are restricted to you or closer
- Whether your friends can share information about your with external applications or websites
- Whether you’re opted out of Facebook’s new instant personalization program
- Whether you’ve blocked applications that can leak your information.
Creator Matt Pizzimenti says the service doesn’t see or expose any of your Facebook data. There’s no guarantee you won’t have information undesirably shared by Facebook, but if you’re interested in extra protection against changes to your account, ReclaimPrivacy’s bookmarklet might be useful to you.