AVG CrowdControl aims to protect your Facebook privacy
I use Facebook daily to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues. However, despite my heavy usage, I am concerned about my privacy. Facebook is notorious for changing its policies and settings and it can be difficult to stay on top of it. Today, popular security and anti-virus company AVG announces a solution called AVG CrowdControl, which the company calls "its first privacy app built on the Facebook API".
"CrowdControl is designed to make Facebook experiences safer by customizing who can view a status, videos and photos posted on a personal timeline. AVG’s goal is that this will make privacy and online security, a more front-of-mind issue for users", says the company.
“Most people have hundreds of friends on Facebook, but may not feel comfortable sharing their daily activity with such a large group, including old business colleagues, fellow students, or people who you can barely remember. This is why we designed AVG CrowdControl. We believe that people will share more and have a more fulfilling experience on social networks when they know they are sharing only with the group that's right for them”, says Jim Brock, VP Privacy Products, AVG Technologies.
I was intrigued by the app so I decided to give it a try by following this link. However, I was slightly taken aback by the permissions that it required:
AVG PrivacyFix will receive the following info: your public profile, friend list, custom friends lists, News Feed, relationships, notes, work history, status updates, education history, hometown, current city, photos, likes and your friends' notes, work histories, status updates, education histories, hometowns, current cities, photos and likes.
Reluctantly, I selected "OK" and proceeded to the settings page. Once there, I was presented with pictures of all of the people in my friends list. The message at the top says "Pick friends who should not see your post by default". All of my friends already had green check boxes on their pictures.
It was not clear to me if they were selected to see my posts or not. Clicking on the friend replaced the green check with a red "X". Did the "X" mean I was deselecting them from not seeing my posts? Or, was I blocking them from seeing my posts? Confusing!
Ultimately, I had to abandon this app. AVG is a great company and I have used its anti-virus over the years. However, this app is no less confusing than the default Facebook settings.