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Sheila Bacon, BGGMobile

Facebook is at the center of a privacy debate following the web-wide release of “Like” buttons, with some users ready to ban together to quit Facebook all together. For those concerned about privacy but looking for a less drastic alternative, there’s a new tool you can use to reclaim your privacy on Facebook.

With this tool concerned Facebookers can drag the Scan for Privacy tool to their browser’s bookmarks toolbar, log in to Facebook and click to see which settings “might be unexpectedly public. The tool is simple to use and perfect for those of us confused by Facebook’s overwhelming array of privacy options.

The growing wave of concern over Facebook’s latest privacy setup change as ” simply out of control” was illustrated this week as The New York Times built a graphic showing just what it takes to achieve total privacy on Facebook these days. In short, you’ll need to navigate through 50 settings, more than 170 options, and a policy that’s much more complicated– all that just to keep information that was once private from being exposed to the world. As we say in Texas, “that dog won’t hunt.”

ReClaimPrivacy an open-source browser-based privacy scanner that automatically inspects your Facebook privacy settings and denotes settings that are risky privacy-wise. This tool is very easy and quick to use.

THREE SIMPLE STEPS

1. Go to ReclaimPrivacy.org and look for the link that says “Scan for Privacy.” Add that link as a “bookmark” on your browser bookmarks toolbar, either by dragging it onto a bookmark toolbar or by right-clicking it and selecting the “Bookmark” option.

2. Next head over to Facebook. Sign into your account, then open the bookmarked link. This will cause ReclaimPrivacy’s privacy scanner to open right at the top of your current Facebook window. Within a few seconds, ReclaimPrivacy will scan through six areas of potential privacy concern and let you know how your account stacks up.

3. For each area, ReclaimPrivacy will give you a green (“good”), yellow (“caution”), or red (“insecure”) ranking. If you hit yellow or red, it’ll provide you with specific steps to fix the problem so you don’t have to waste time searching for the right setting. Once you have fixed the setting (in Facebook) re-run the tool to check your settings.

I hope this is helpful for you, please let me know your comments, suggestions.