September 27, 2023
For the last few months, the Block Party team has been quietly testing Privacy Party, our new browser extension that finds and fixes privacy risks in your social media accounts. Thanks to the help of our generous alpha testers, we’re finally ready to lift the velvet rope and let everyone into the public beta!
You can now find the extension on the Chrome web store—tell all your friends and loved ones who need a quick privacy boost. (For the record, that’s probably most of them.)
To start, you can identify potential vulnerabilities and get expert privacy recommendations on five different social platforms: Instagram, Linkedin, X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Venmo.
Here’s how to get started and what to expect when you install the extension.
First, add the extension to your browser. On Chrome, you’ll see a popup confirming the permissions the product needs in order to find privacy issues and fix them for you. Once you click “Add extension”, you’re good to go.
Then pin the extension so you can always find your recommendations:
Once you’ve installed, you’ll find yourself on the Privacy Party dashboard, which is where all the playbooks for different social platforms live. The welcome walkthrough will encourage you to start with the Venmo playbook (it’s full of hidden risks) but you can choose from any of our five playbooks:
Every playbook starts with a quick scan of your current settings to identify potential vulnerabilities. Depending on how many recommendations we offer for a platform, checking settings could take a couple minutes while we shuffle through all the different settings pages. (There’s always a ton of them.) By default, you can watch as Privacy Party flips through each page, but if the background motion bothers you, there’s a toggle on the left to hide the activity:
Your recommendations will appear in a sidebar on the right side of the screen. If you click the colorful bar at the top of any card, you’ll be taken directly to the corresponding settings page.
Each recommendation comes with a description of the risks it addresses and tradeoffs that implementing the recommendation may have. There are also threat tags to identify specific attacks that the recommendation may help protect against.
The heart of each recommendation is a list of settings to update or steps to take to protect your account. For most cards, Privacy Party can speed up the process for you by automating the settings updates or changing individual visibility permissions on images. For a few recommendations, automation isn’t currently possible, and so we offer step-by-step walkthrough instructions instead.
For any automation, you can choose which specific settings you want to update. Your current setting is listed below each for handy reference. And you can opt out of any that don’t fit your needs by unchecking the box on the left:
Then just click “Update For Me” and watch the automation work!
You can always skip whole cards, too, and come back later.
Most settings can be undone by Privacy Party if you change your mind, but there are a few that we can’t switch back for you later. Those are called out separately and have a secondary warning before you update.
We believe in giving everyone more control over their online experience, and Privacy Party is no exception. Here are some quick ways to make it your own.
In the center of the top navigation on the side bar, you’ll find a dropdown that allows you to sort in a few different ways, depending on your needs:
If you’d like to hide all the cards you’ve completed, you can do so by clicking “Filter” in the bottom left corner and selecting “Not reviewed”.
Support for more platforms is coming soon, and we don’t want you to miss a single recommendation. But as we’re all too aware, not everyone has the same notifications preferences, so here’s how you can update yours.
First, head back to the dashboard (you can find it by clicking the extension and then choosing “See All Playbooks”). Click the bell icon in the top right corner to open the notifications pane:
From there, select the gear icon and you’ll see all the notifications we offer. (Don’t worry, there are only three.) You can toggle them on or off at any time.
We’ve designed Privacy Party from the ground up to limit the information we collect about your usage of the product, but if you’d like to understand what we do log, you can click “Your privacy matters” in the bottom left corner of the dashboard:
You can opt out of all logging with one click at the bottom of the page:
It should go without saying, but just to be clear: we do not and will not ever sell your data.
Now that the Privacy Party beta is available for everyone to try, you can expect support for more platforms (Whatsapp! Strava! Spotify! Nextdoor! The list is endless…) As the platforms update their settings—something that happens all the time—we’ll let you know if you need to take action on specific new recommendations. And we’ve got a few more fun things planned for the rest of the year, so stay tuned for more.