Facebook has a T-Rex. Or at least a blue cartoon dinosaur that will warn you before you post up something idiotic for the world to see. The next time you are going to blast your boss, say something wildly inappropriate or just post a simple status update, you may be greeted by a blue dinosaur with a laptop.

The company has had a shaky relationship with its users and privacy, and this looks like a step to mend a few fences. And a good way to keep some people employed or out of jail. If you haven’t adjusted your privacy settings, expect Facebook privacy dinosaur to run you down. The message appears as a popup window and is personalized to your account.

“Sorry to interrupt,” the message says. “You haven’t changed who can see your posts lately, so we just wanted to make sure you’re sharing this post with the right audience. (Your current setting is Public, though you can change this whenever you post.)”

This is a switch for a company that pushes users to make as much of their lives public as possible. The newly added trending topics is based on users’ public posts. Privacy advocates are welcoming the addition of the privacy check. The International Association of Privacy Professionals lauded Facebook’s move via Twitter (that probably stings a bit) – “Are we the only ones who get pumped about seeing Facebook’s privacy dinosaur in action?”

Facebook for its part says the new feature is just an experiment for now. A company spokesperson says it was in line with Facebook’s commitment to keep people from unintentionally sharing content with the global audience, versus just their circle of friends.

The social network’s sharing solutions can be a bit tricky, so the popup does give users a check for their content. Say you wanted to share a news link and make it public. Hitting that selector sets it for posts going forward. If you’re not paying attention, something you may not want shared with the world will go out on your next update.

With Facebook constantly battling privacy advocates, this experiment should make its way into a full-fledged feature. At the very least, it would buy the company some goodwill amongst its user base that is clamoring for more tools like this. And it would help keep the ridiculous Facebook status update media stories from popping up all the time.


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