Given all the recent controversy over Facebook privacy policies, and the confusing tangle of 50 options you need to navigate, to manage your privacy on the social network, the One Button Rule probably couldn't come at a better time. As the name suggests, it's a web app (for Firefox and Chrome) that changes your Facebook privacy settings with the push of a single button. It was developed by two alumni of Linden Lab (who are also, full disclosure, friends) -- on the tech side, Ian Wilkes, who was the main guy behind scaling Second Life, and on the business side of things, Linden's former lawyer and VP of Corporate development Ginsu Yoon, who as it happens, just wrote a post on his blog about Facebook's expanding levels of control over its users. This app, as it turns out, is meant to be part of a solution that gives consumers more control over their Facebook options:
"The Friends Only button is looking at all of the settings pointed out in that New York Times chart," Ginsu told me. Unlike other solutions, he says this one "automatically monitors Facebook changes to your settings... This is important because of Facebook's long history of changing things without making clear to the user what has happened." Their challenge now is making constant updates that stay ahead of the social network's revisions, to make sure the Friends Only Button keeps functioning. "[W]e have already seen that Facebook is making changes - they would call them 'enhancements' - that prevent this and other tools from working properly," as Ginsu puts it. "So this is an ongoing battle."
Update, 11:05AM: As a follow-up, I asked Ginsu how his years with Linden Lab inspired this One Button Rule app, which is a side project of Bynamite, the name of he and Ian's startup. He said this:
"Second Life showed me that the power of the Internet is really in the hands of the people -- whether they know it or not. When I see people complaining that giant services like Facebook or Google are taking advantage of them, I think 'That's ridiculous! All we have to is create technology that unites our power to take back control! A few big companies don't stand a chance against millions of united consumers!' That's the basic mission of Bynamite, so you could say that what we are doing is all about bringing what we learned from Second Life to a larger Internet audience."