That’s the cool part. The not-so-cool part? uProtect.It is in public beta, and it shows. Features seem to change on an almost daily basis. It is crash prone, especially when trying to modify the list of friends who receive posts. And if your friends want to read anything you posted using uProtect.It, they have to install the uProtect.It Facebook app. Ironically, the app’s extensive permissions disclosure – it requires access to nearly all of your information – scared off some of my more privacy savvy friends.
If all you want to do is limit who sees certain posts on Facebook, using Facebook’s lists feature is a much better way to do it. If you’re posting something ultra sensitive to one or two people that you don’t want Facebook to get its grubby mitts on, it’s a better call. Then again, at that point you might as well email the thing to them.
Still, you have to admire what Reputation.com is trying to achieve. I spoke with Reputation.com COO and co-founder Owen Tripp, who readily acknowledges that uProtect.It isn’t quite ready for prime time, yet.
"We wanted to put this product in as many hands as possible and listen to what they had to say so we could make it better,” he says. “We thought Facebook was the most urgent, so we started there. It's not just the visibility of the comments and photos you post, it's the fact that once they're out there, people who are not you can own them forever."
Reputation.com knows a thing or two about Internet privacy; for the last three years it has managed to create a profitable business out of removing harmful information from the Internet for its clients, and for letting people know exactly how much information is available about them online. A lot of companies have crashed and burned in the privacy biz, but Rep.com appears to be thriving.
Tripp says their ultimate goal is to provide a service that lets you store your posts, tweets, pictures, ad nauseam on a machine you control, whether in your home or in the cloud.
"Facebook is the center of the social media world, but we have the same ambitions for Twitter, Flickr, or any place where you're sharing personal details. We think people should have control over their own information. Period, end stop. No social platform will provide that on their own."