Meet Facebook’s new mascot of accidental oversharing: a kindly blue dinosaur that shows up and gently prods you to think about the privacy settings on your posts. Why a dinosaur? We’re not sure, but it’s definitely cuter than a cartoon annoyed family member or an adorable rendering of a publicly gossiped-about friend.
It’s better for Facebook, of course, if we post everything publicly: public posts are where their current “trending topics” come from, and all of that delicious public information about you and your friends is what makes the site so valuable to advertisers.
Users see the Privacy Dinosaur when they haven’t changed their post settings for a while: “we just wanted to make sure you’re sharing your post with the right audience,” it tells users. We’ve all done it, after all: you switch your posting to “public” to share a cool blog post you write or to enter a contest where you need to share a blog post in order to enter a drawing, and then leave your settings wide open for the whole world to see an embarrassing photo that you post or a status complaining about the break room coffee pot.
It’s not that Facebook wants us to stop oversharing altogether–as use of the site has spread from being limited to Web-savvy college students to having everyone from great-grandparents to kids under 13 using it, they want to make sure that users know what their options are, and who they’re sharing posts with.