It’s time for a “privacy checkup” from your Facebook doctor

Facebook has rolled out its long-awaited privacy “checkup” button. The checkup is exactly what it sounds like — a way to quickly scan your activity on the site and see who can view it.

“We know you come to Facebook to connect with friends, not with us,” Product Manager Paddy Underwood said in the blog post announcing the news. “But we also know how important it is to be in control of what you share and who you share with.”

You’ll be prompted by Facebook’s privacy dinosaur — yes the same little guy who popped up back in May to let you know if your posts were public — to run your checkup. That means users less tuned into tech news won’t have to go hunting down the feature; Facebook will flag it for them.

Facebook's privacy dinosaur pops up to prompt you to take the check-up.

Facebook’s privacy dinosaur pops up to prompt you to take the check-up.

If you choose to run the checkup, the system will walk you through who can see your posts, which apps you’ve tied to Facebook, whether those apps are public, and what parts of your personal profile are public. Underwood told Re/Code that this is the first time in the company’s history it has prompted users to review the privacy settings on their app permissions and profile details.

It’s a quick way to make sure you haven’t unknowingly been publishing information to the public. That way, you can avoid falling into the trap I did last year of being “The last person on Earth not burned by Facebook’s privacy settings realizes her entire wall is public.”

There’s an irony, of course, in the fact that Facebook’s privacy settings are so buried and confusing that the company has to task a cartoon dinosaur — dubbed Zuckasaurus by the New York Times — with teaching you what you’ve shared to which audiences. I’m not sure anyone would task the company with being your go-to doctor on privacy health, but the tool is helpful in navigating its feature jungle.