Facebook Privacy Checkup: Your Social Media Physical Therapy


This week, Facebook rolled out Privacy Checkup; users, when logging into the social media powerhouse from a real computer (ie, not a mobile device or tablet (which I guess still happens?)), receive an intrusive notification suggesting that they participate in a “Privacy Checkup,” which can be loosely interpreted as an annual medical physical, just for your social media demons.

It was almost like Zuckerberg’s ears were ringing, given our conversation in class this past Monday.

Through Privacy Checkup, Facebook users are essentially handed a clipboard showing their current privacy settings. Users are then encouraged to pour through several screens to make sure everything they want visible is visible, and more importantly, things they don’t want visible can be “hidden.”

Now, the word “hidden” is quoted purposefully; of course, anything posted on Facebook (and other social media sites) is not private, and the idea of privacy settings is somewhat naive – if anyone wants something badly enough, it can be acquired. Having said that, given that Facebook typically makes privacy changes behind the users’ e-backs, this is certainly a step in the right direction toward giving its users a false sense of security.

It is important to note that through the rollout of Privacy Checkup, Facebook has not added any new privacy settings, or given users any reason to believe that their content is more secure – that is not the purpose of the Checkup. The Checkup is simply a way for Facebook to make sure that all users at least have the opportunity to make changes to who can view their posts, linked apps, and personal information (including phone numbers, email addresses, addresses, etc).

Were you prompted to utilize Checkup? If so, did you realize that some of your content, which you thought was private, actually was not. Personally, I noticed that I had 6 email addresses linked to my Facebook account, which were apparently “Public,” AKA visible to “Anyone On or Off Facebook.” Does the newly implemented Checkup make you feel more secure, or does it actually feel like more of a wake-up-call, highlighting all of the information which Facebook has access to?


– Neil Heckman




2 thoughts on “Facebook Privacy Checkup: Your Social Media Physical Therapy

  1. Very ironic that the privacy checkup was prompted this week, given our conversation last week. I was personally unaware of the checkup until I read this post because I rarely, (if ever) go on Facebook using anything but a mobile device. My home address, phone number, and email was all public which I am not okay with. I thought I already changed these settings, so I do think the checkup was a good idea for Facebook to send to all its users, however, I still believe that everyones information is at risk no matter what Facebook or any social network tries to claim.

  2. I actually wasn’t prompted to go through the Privacy Checkup and I didn’t see anything in news feed (Facebook stated they would begin suggesting the privacy checkup to people on news feed) so I looked on the drop down lock to find it and my settings were fine. To delve into it a little more, I checked out facebook/fbprivacy page, (https://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-and-privacy/a-closer-look-at-a-checkup-helping-millions-of-people-control-who-they-share-wit/745499878833230) and found Facebook posted a notice on September 4th, which states earlier this year they announced a new Privacy Checkup (I believe that was June) to make sure only people you want can see what you post but that this latest update is being made available around the world on desktop. It also states, “Our first Privacy Checkup helped people posting publicly make sure they were sharing with the right audience…we’ve redesigned and simplified our audience selectors across Facebook on desktop and mobile” so as Neil stated, not a new privacy rollout. With all the breaches on privacy such as the recent Home Depot incident (and Target), it is essential that companies stay on the pulse of privacy and I view FB’s on-going efforts similar to Privacy statements periodically received from stores like Banana Republic, Gap, Kohl’s, etc. for credit card privacy policies, how they share information and how to opt out for text messages or adjust settings for mobile apps. I also think it’s incumbent on us to be aware and accountable for monitoring our privacy settings on an ongoing basis.

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