Facebook privacy scanner (ReclaimPrivacy)

Summary: there’s a simple tool that will tell you which Facebook sharing options are “too open” in your account. I’d like you to help me by trying it out and telling me what you think (if you had problems using it, if you would like extra/other information to be shown, if you found any bugs, etc.). Skip to “how to use it” below if you’re not interested in the details for developers. Thanks!

Some time ago I discovered a neat Javascript tool called ReclaimPrivacy. It was a very simple program that scanned your Facebook privacy settings and told you if you had “too open” settings so you could review and fix them. I really liked the tool and thought it was a great idea, but after Facebook changed the layout of the privacy settings, the tool stopped working.

Weeks passed and the tool didn’t get any update, so I decided to step in and try to help the original programmer adapt the tool so it worked again. The ReclaimPrivacy code is in GitHub so it was pretty easy to make my own fork and start hacking away. It didn’t take me long to adapt the first things to the new privacy settings layout, and after some more time I was much more comfortable with the code, had made more things work, added tests and even added new features. Now that it’s starting to get close to something we could release as the new official ReclaimPrivacy version, I’d like your feedback.

How to use it: add a new bookmark for this link. You usually just have to drag and drop it to your browser toolbar, or alternatively add a new bookmark (typically you can do that by pressing Ctrl-D) and make sure the address is the above link. Go to the ReclaimPrivacy help page if you have trouble (but use my link, not the one provided there!). Once you have the bookmark, go to Facebook and click on the bookmark. It will show you some information about your Facebook privacy settings on top of the page. Just leave a comment here or drop me an e-mail with your opinion, thanks! You can skip the rest of the post if you are not interested in Javascript programming and/or software automated testing ;-)

During my hacking I made a lot of different changes: I split the source file into several different files, I made the code (more) testable, I added tests, and I added more features. I’m really into testing and testability, so one of the first things I did with the code was trying to decouple it from the network calls so I could write tests for it. As you may know, I think that code that doesn’t have tests is very hard to work with, and I even consider it’s not “true code”. Now, I’m no Javascript expert, so some of my techniques might not be very… idiomatic. That said, some of the code change highlights you may be interested in: