Software // Social
09:06 AM
Connect Directly
Secure Your Enterprise's Digital Workspace with a Multilayered Approach
Aug 25, 2016
Client computing is increasingly providing a back door into the enterprise for the compromise and ...Read More>>

Facebook 'Privacy Dinosaur' Warns Before Posts Go Public

You might think privacy is extinct, but Facebook has introduced a friendly blue dinosaur that warns when you are about to post something publicly.

7 Facebook Wishes For 2014
7 Facebook Wishes For 2014
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Facebook has always had a complicated relationship with its users when it comes to privacy, but the social network has taken a small step to repair that. Now, if you are about to post something publicly -- whether on purpose or by accident -- you might be greeted by a little blue dinosaur.

Over the past few weeks, Facebook has sent a "privacy checkup" message to users about to share a status update, photo, or link that would be visible to anyone, based on the user's privacy settings. The popup displays a cartoon dinosaur using a laptop and asks users to verify with whom they want to share the post.

"Sorry to interrupt," the message says. "You haven't changed who can see your posts lately, so we just wanted to make sure you're sharing this post with the right audience. (Your current setting is Public, though you can change this whenever you post.)"

[Get a grip on your Facebook account. Read 10 Most Misunderstood Facebook Privacy Facts.]

The reminder is an uncharacteristic addition to Facebook, which notoriously has urged users to share more information publicly. One of Facebook's newest features, trending topics, is based on users' public posts, for example.

Facebook's privacy dinosaur caught the eye of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, which commented on it via Twitter: "Are we the only ones who get pumped about seeing Facebook's privacy dinosaur in action?" it asked.

Although it's not clear why Facebook has chosen to remind some users to check their privacy settings, a Facebook spokesperson said that the popup is one of the company's experiments to keep people from sharing with unintended audiences: "We frequently test new ways to help ensure people are sharing with who they want to on Facebook," she said.

Sharing with multiple audiences on Facebook can get tricky. If you change the audience of a post on a one-time basis -- to share an update publicly, for example -- be aware that unless you use the audience selector to change your privacy setting back to friends, all future posts will be public. This applies to both the desktop version of Facebook and its mobile apps.  

If you're unsure who you're about to share a post with, use the audience selector to the left of the Post button in the status update box to make your selection.

To change the audience of a past post, visit your profile and hover over the icon to the right of the post's date, then choose a new audience from the menu.

You can also change the audience of all your past posts. To find this, navigate to your privacy settings page. Below "Who can see my stuff?" click "Limit Past Posts" next to "Limit the audience for posts you've shared with friends of friends or Public?" This will change any content in your timeline that was originally shared publicly or with friends of friends to friends only.

Trying to meet today's business technology needs with yesterday's IT organizational structure is like driving a Model T at the Indy 500. Time for a reset. Read our Transformative CIOs Organize For Success report today. (Free registration required.)

Kristin Burnham currently serves as's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
4/4/2014 | 9:37:40 AM
Hooray for the Facebook privacy dinosuar
Maybe this is a small thing, but it's a very positive step to help people understand the implications of sharing in the Facebook environment. I do some fancy tweaking of my sharing settings from time to time, but I've still managed to share a message more broadly or more narrowly than I intentded from time to time. I wouldn't mind some help from a dinosaur.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of August 14, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.