Every time Facebook updates its privacy settings, more people get left behind. It’s bad enough for those of us who work with social media on a daily basis — for us, it’s more of a laziness issue than anything — but keeping up-to-date with privacy can be virtually impossible for users of the social network who don’t understand what they need to be aware of, and perhaps that’s why people are turning to technology for help. Browser add-ons and other privacy-checking tools are becoming an increasingly popular way of managing online privacy, and the best part? They’re simple enough for anyone to use.
There are several free privacy scanners available online, but — as with anything you find on the Internet — you’ll want to be careful about what you trust. After all, you don’t know what they plan on doing with your data, either.
Search for reviews and recommendations before testing anything out, and choose names you recognize over sites you’re not familiar with. Of all the free browser-based tools, Reclaim Privacy has the best reputation.
Checking your own privacy settings is one thing — chances are, if you’re bothered enough to check, you already have a vague idea of what’s important when it comes to online privacy — but what about your family? Young teens and elderly relatives are more likely to have trouble with Facebook’s privacy settings than you are.
And that’s what AVG is getting at with its PrivacyFix tool. The software gives you a safety rating, shows you how to improve it, and alerts you every time there’s an update to Facebook’s privacy settings.
This works for everyone using your computer, and it also lets you keep track of your family’s Facebook settings so you can step in if your kids are oversharing. PrivacyFix is available for mobile and tablet, too, and it can also help you with your privacy on Google and LinkedIn.
If you’re going to use the Internet, your data will always be in somebody’s hands, so it all comes down to who you’d rather trust. The data collected by security-based companies like AVG is likely to be far less personal than what Facebook has on you, though, and that’s definitely worth keeping in mind.
Readers: Would you consider using an add-on to manage your privacy? And if not, do you think less-experienced social media users could benefit from something like this? Let us know in the comments!
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