Shared Activity plug-in reveals Facebook privacy settings

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Facebook has unveiled a new plug-in called Shared Activity that will make it easier to manage your privacy settings for individual websites that have access to your Facebook profile.

Sites that have a Facebook Shared Activity module let you see what level of sharing and privacy you've enabled for that site, such as sharing publicly or just with friends. It can also show you what actions you've taken on the site that were shared back to Facebook, such as likes, comments, or other activity. You can even use Shared Activity to edit your general privacy sharing setting for the site. Without the Shared Activity plugin you would have to go back to Facebook and dig around in your often-confusing privacy settings page.

In order to work, the Shared Activity module must be installed on individual sites that you visit. For example, if a site connected to your Facebook account chooses not to use the plug-in, then you will not have easy access to your recent activity on that site or your site-specific privacy settings.

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Shared Activity clarifies what's public.

Let's say you signed up for Airbnb, the accommodations marketplace service, using your Facebook account. If the Shared Activity plugin was enabled on Airbnb.com, it could show you all the rental properties you've added to your Airbnb wish list and then shared on your Facebook Timeline. It could also tell you if your default privacy setting for Airbnb was to share your wish list activity publicly, just with friends, with friends of friends, or a custom group of people.

On a news site, the Shared Activity plugin could show you all your likes, as well as the stories you've read and shared back to Facebook. If the news site uses Facebook's comments plugin, you could also see any comments you've made on the site.

The downside to the Shared Activity plugin is that it's up to each individual site to enable the feature. This is not something you'll see by default across all the sites you use that connect to Facebook. To see the Shared Activity plugin when you visit a site, you also have to be signed in to Facebook and have authorized the site to connect to your Facebook account.

Be on the lookout for this new privacy-centric plugin on Facebook-connected sites you visit on a regular basis. When it's enabled, Shared Activity promises to be a quick and easy way to control what you share via Facebook.

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