Privacy issues are a constant concern for many people that use mobiles phones, tablets and the internet. Only recently there were leaked photos of naked celebrities, but privacy is not just about pictures we don’t want other people to see. Privacy is also about preventing people and companies from tracking your activities as you browse the web, not sharing your name, age, phone number, location, hobbies and interests with all and sundry.
PrivacyFix for Social Networks is designed to help you to use your phone or tablet and the internet without divulging more information that your would like. This is an app for both Android phones and tablets, and the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It is free and it is from AVG, which PC users will instantly recognise as a well known security company – AVG AntiVirus Free is incredibly popular.
When the app is first run, you must tap in each of the social networks, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. This prompts you to log in and allow PrivacyFix to access your account so that it can modify the privacy settings. It displays some interesting information – did you know that I am worth $26.53 to Twitter, but only $1.80 to Facebook?
You worth is based on the number of times you post to a social network and like items, and how many friends or followers you have. I’m not very active on Facebook, so you will probably find that you are worth a lot more than I am.
The privacy settings are different for each social network and Facebook has by far the most. There are some privacy settings that you probably didn’t know existed, such as CrowdControl. This enables you to create a list of people that cannot see your posts, so you can be Facebook friends with your boss, but he won’t see your posts for example. That is a useful feature.
App access lets you choose what is available to apps, games and websites when your friends use them. Did you know that when a friend uses an app, your Facebook details are accessible by the app? You can choose to share as little or as much as you want.
Facebook remembers when and where you were in the world when you last used accessed it. Close old sessions shows this history and lets you delete these items.
There are some useful settings there. They are in Facebook already, but this app makes them easier to find and change. (Check out Stop Facebook using excessive battery and bandwidth for more Facebook tweaks.)
Selecting Data protected in the Twitter section opens the settings. These include options such as whether to include location information with your tweets, if people can find you by your email address or phone number and so on.
Google+ will track your search history and some people may prefer that it didn’t. Selecting the Search history setting goes to the Google settings where this can be changed. YouTube remembers every video you watch and if you prefer that it didn’t record your YouTube activities, you can view a list of videos and tap the menu button to delete items. There isn’t an option to clear them all and it would be tedious to delete each one individually. The best way to use this is to browse the videos and just delete the ones you might be embarrassed by if anyone knew you watched.
Another Google+ setting is shared endorsements in ads. Select In Google ads and you can clear the tick box next to Based on my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads. You don’t want to appear in adverts do you?
In addition to the social network settings, there is an option to opt out of targeted ads in your mobile browser. Normally your web browsing is tracked and advertisers use that information to display adverts based on the place you have visited. PrivacyFix enables you to opt out. This does not prevent adverts, but it means your browsing history isn’t used by the advertiser.
AVG PrivacyFix is a useful tool for Android and iOS. All of the settings can be found elsewhere, but you will find it much easier to set them here. The app is free, so what’s not to like? Once the privacy settings have been changed, the app could be removed if you don’t want to keep it permanently or if you think you won’t change your mind about the settings once done.
Title: PrivacyFix for Social Networks (Google Play Store / iOS Store)
Developer: AVG Mobile
Size: 5.8MB Android, 11.6MB iOS
Android: 2.3.3 or later
iOS: 6.0 or later
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 17 September 2014