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Facebook Debuts a ‘Privacy Checkup’ Tool to Help You Better Control Your Data

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
Yahoo Tech

Image via Reuters.

On Thursday, Facebook released a new tool to help you understand and control your privacy settings on the site. 

First announced back in April, the Privacy Checkup tool lets you see and adjust who can view your data, as well as which apps can access it. It is navigated, curiously, with the help of a nameless blue dinosaur –– let’s call him Clippyosaurus –– who pops up now and then and reminds you to review your privacy settings to “make sure they’re set up the way you want.”

Per the company’s blog post:

“Today, we’re starting to roll out Privacy Checkup, which helps you review and control who you’re sharing with.

“We know you come to Facebook to connect with friends, not with us. But we also know how important it is to be in control of what you share and who you share with.”

The release is likely a move for Facebook to improve its public image, which has been marred by several privacy scandals in the past several years.

The Privacy Checkup tool attempts to both simplify the process of changing your sharing settings and demystify whom you’re sharing with.

The tool isn’t a cure-all. While it might help you better understand what you’re sharing and with whom, for example, it doesn’t change the fact that Facebook farms out your detailed personal data to advertisers for profit by default. (Click here to find out how to turn off that lovely feature.)

Anyway, below is a quick run-through of how the tool works:

When you access your privacy settings via the lock symbol in the upper-right corner of Facebook’s navigation bar, your (Mac-using?) dinosaur friend will appear and be like, “Hey, privacy, blah blah blah.”

Facebook’s Privacy Checkup

After you click Privacy Checkup, a box will pop up on your screen. Via this tool, you can monitor Your Posts, Your Apps, and Your Profile.

The first page is a basic run-through of who can see the updates you write on your page.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

The second is a survey of which apps are connected to your Facebook. I’ll admit it’s nice to have quick access to this, as I often try out an app once or twice and then forget about it. With this tool, I can remove its access to my data with one click. You can also adjust who sees your activity on the app.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

Finally, you’re shown all the basic personal info on your profile and given the choice to adjust what it says and who sees it.

Facebook Privacy Checkup screenshot

That’s all it does! At the very least, this simplifies the convoluted process of adjusting your privacy that’s caused so many problems in the past.

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