Ready for Zuckasaurus? Meet Facebook’s Privacy Mascot

Now, what better way to represent and mascot a tech giant than a dinosaur itself? So meet Zuckasaurus (from Mark Zuckerberg’s namesake obviously), Facebook’s privacy mascot.

Zuckasaurus as labeled by tech writers has been an attempt by Facebook to create an icon who reminds users of their current privacy settings. If you haven’t changed your privacy settings lately, you may have met this dinosaur saying “Sorry to interrupt. You haven’t changed who can see your posts lately.”

Could this Mouthpiece be a Gamble?

bits-dinosaur-tmagArticle-v2                                                                                                                                                                 screenshot from

Early on, we’ve meet Microsoft’s clippy and Twitters happy whale. Clippy, Microsoft’s cartoon figure helps users in figuring out Microsoft Word and is a paperclip complete with eyeballs. The icon though has created annoyance among users and has been mocked.

Twitter’s blue whale on the other hand appears every time a service interruption happens in Twitter server. This too has been labeled by user as the Fail Whale (although it has its own set of fans).

Now, with Facebook’s creation of the dinosaur icon (successor of speech bubbles and robot), some techies are a little bit doubtful but still hoping that this cartoon will not suffer the fate of the whale and the paper clip.

Why the Dinosaur?

zuckasaurusYes, this is Zuckasaurus. But sadly no, it doesn’t speak in green speech bubbles.

Among other iconic mascots, Google Android’s android, reddit’s Snoo, Twitter’s bird is well-loved. So, does Facebook aim the same for its blue dino? Why did they choose the character?

“Our team looked at a few different characters, saw the dinosaur, and just thought he was the friendliest and best choice,” said Raylene Yung, an engineering manager on Facebook’s privacy team. “Once we tried him out, we saw some great results and welcomed him to the team.” (As seen in CNN’s article Forget Godzilla: Facebook rolls out its own dinosaur)

Facebook’s blue dinosaur appeared already several months ago on pop-up feature of the social media but has been introduced in wide scale this past week.

What Zuckasaurus Advocates

Honestly, naming the dino cartoon “that” seems gimpy, but then, knowing the tech world, the name will stick forever (Wall Street Journal though called it Privosaurus Rex). So yes, you will be meeting this blue hipster dino from time to time. You should be thankful though it isn’t purple.

So for its real purpose, Facebook was on a roll since last month’s announcement of new Facebook updates in f8. If you remember, emphasis has been put over the privacy concerns. Here are the things that the dinosaur will be doing for the social media giant:

  1. Reminds users who were posting publicly. In the near future, when you’re attempting to post anything i.e. photos, status, news ,etc, the dino will appear and remind you about it. I will ask you who you would like to see your post, friends or the whole public.
  2. Prompt users to review privacy setting. Once you attempt to post, the dinosaur will ask you to review your settings.
  3. Will walk you through the App Control Panel. In the app control panel, the user will be seeing the third party websites and applications that the user has registered to through the feature “Facebook Login”. One can retract the registration to these apps after.
  4. Changing the default to friends instead of “public”. Okay, this isn’t Zuckasaurus prompted, but it has been brought together in with the dinosaur. In the past, your default post audience is the general public unless you changed your privacy option. After this Facebook update, the default viewers of your post will be changed to your friends.

Although there is no change to the mode of sharing and how privacy works, instead, Facebook has been knocking on how users can use the options to be able post less publicly.

Why Facebook Overturned from its Old Privacy Push

These new step though seemed like a reversal since its history, for the past ten years, Facebook has pushed users to share more information publicly, in the form of any post. This in the past has drawn user’s ire as well as the antagonism of privacy advocates globally.

And with the federal cases that Facebook’s facing regarding scraped data from profiles, then Facebook is really waking up to its past killing of privacy in the internet. The backlash at this point prompted the social media giant to take better care of its consumers, hopefully.

Other Privacy Related Move from Facebook

In its f8 last month (conference intended for developers and entrepreneurs), several key points regarding privacy has been announced by the Facebook team. And this will roll out in the coming months or next year.

One major move is the logging in anonymously to apps you want to test. In here, there will be more user control since there will be granular permission for apps. So say you want to test a new app? You don’t need to log in and provide your details or have the application retrieve your friends list and gain control of some things like posting on your behalf. Granular permission on the other hand have the users elect the data they opt to share, it will be toggled line by line.

Mark Zuckerberg said that users can always sign in with their own identity once they are comfortable with the app. But one thing should be clear though, this point move doesn’t make users anonymous from Facebook, rather it’s anonymity with Facebook.

This option will be available next year since the granular permission feature will need time to be restructured. The time will just be enough for developers to switch over. Meanwhile, there are seven apps which has been beta tested for the login-to-apps-anonymously, Flipboard included.

So it isn’t just the Dino

It isn’t just the dinosaur that prompts this semi-bold move from Facebook. The whole social media giant itself is taking better care of its users. People first, they say.

What we hope now is, unlike the specie it was inspired from, this dinosaur (however you call it) will not be extinct fast and will serve its purpose until there is no public post among non-public entities. For now, let’s watch the blue dino roll out.

PS. Please don’t think of that last statement literally, I made a mistake of doing that, it’s not a pretty sight to visualize Zuckerberg in blue dino mascot costume doing some rolling out.

 featured image via Sebastiaan ter Burg


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