Print 15 comment(s) - last by bsim50.. on May 30 at 5:12 AM

  (Source: TIME (left); Facebook (right))
Friendly animated prehistoric reptile will chide users into greater awareness

In Twitter's younger years service co-founder Biz Stone was browsing iStockPhoto when he came across an unusual picture by Sydney, Australia artist Yiying Lu.  An unusual sight, the minimalist cartoon depicted a happy whale held aloft by a flock of tiny birds.  Mr. Stone was captivated by the beast, which might be viewed as a metaphor to the awkward business of web hosting, or perhaps the Twitter community's best efforts to deal with thorny issues like trolling, privacy, hacking, and sexual content.  Whatever the analogy he saw, he made it his service's canned failure screen giving birth to the "fail whale".

Now Facebook, Inc. (FB) has officially made its servers home to a cartoon animal mascot of their own, the "Facebook dinosaur".  The dinosaur appears at various places in the privacy features of the site, including popups.  The dinosaur gently chides/reminds users of the realities of privacy in the digital age.  It encourages users who have been ignoring the growing set of privacy controls to take note of them via the App Control Panel.

Facebook Privacy Dino

The mascot was rolled out last week along with finer grain privacy controls.  For the first time Facebook is now defaulting users to only share with their friends, rather than allowing their content to be viewed by strangers and searchable on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) search engine.

Like many dinosaurs in the real world, its discovery has provoked some debate.  Some (including The New York Times) think the friendly blue dinosaur looks a bit like company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg at work.  They've dubbed it the "Zuckasaurus".  Okay, we can kind of see the resemblance:

Facebook dino and Zuckerberg
[Image Source: TIME (left)]

The Wall Street Journal is battling to dub the beast "Privosaurus Rex".  And others yet are calling it the "safeasaur" or a "privasaurus."

Facebook Privacy

The dinosaur was first discovered back in March: It vaguely resembles the dinosaur the dinosaur designs of stock photo artist Lordalea, although the similarities may be coincidental.  Facebook privacy team engineering manager Raylene Yung told The New York Times on the dino:

Our team looked at a few different characters, saw the dinosaur and just thought he was the friendliest and best choice.  Once we tried him out, we saw some great results and welcomed him to the team.

Hopefully this dino doesn't overstay its welcome and go extinct like Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFTill-fated, but somewhat nostalgic Office mascot, "Clippy".

Sources: Facebook, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

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By mgilbert on 5/29/2014 8:44:51 AM , Rating: 4
Want to protect your privacy? It's easy. If you don't have a Facebook account, don't sign up. If you have one, delete it. People, especially young people, can't even interact one on one anymore. It makes me sick when I see family/friends sitting around, all with their faces buried in their stupid phones. Get a life!!! When you are with others, put your phone away, and enjoy the company of those around you. Anything else is just plain rude.

RE: Privacy
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/2014 9:16:59 AM , Rating: 2
"Get off my lawn!"

RE: Privacy
By xti on 5/29/2014 9:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
lol...typical overgeneralization.

RE: Privacy
By darkpuppet on 5/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: Privacy
By DaveLessnau on 5/29/2014 10:02:57 AM , Rating: 3
Mothers of River City, heed that warning before it's too late! Watch for the telltale signs of corruption! The minute your son leaves the house, does he rebuckle his knickerbockers below the knee? Is there a nicotine stain on his index finger? A dime-novel hidden in the corncrib? Is he starting to memorize jokes from Captain Billy's Whiz-Bang? Are certain words creeping into his conversation? Words like "swell" and "so's your old man"? If so my friends, ya got trouble! -- Professor Harold Hill: The Music Man

RE: Privacy
By Rukkian on 5/29/2014 12:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
What if you don't enjoy the company and are forced to be there? While you can pick friends, for the most part, family is forced upon you.

I don't personally get mine out when I am around others unless I need to look something up, or figure out an open spot on my calendar, I do not get offended if somebody else does not want to talk to me, as I probably don't want to talk to them either.

With my immediate family, I make sure nobody gets out electronics while we are doing a family activity like eating dinner, or playing a board game.

RE: Privacy
By bsim50 on 5/30/2014 5:12:46 AM , Rating: 2
"Want to protect your privacy? It's easy. If you don't have a Facebook account, don't sign up. If you have one, delete it. People, especially young people, can't even interact one on one anymore."

^ This. Phone + SMS + e-mail is more than enough for actually talking to people (rather than simply at them). Like pretty much everything run by large marketing companies - if you're getting it for free, then you're not the customer - you're the product...

I wuv you, you wuv me...
By villageidiotintern on 5/29/2014 2:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
...let's hang Zuckasaurus...

RE: I wuv you, you wuv me...
By ShaolinSoccer on 5/29/2014 3:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
I bet he has more privacy than anyone in Facebook.

RE: I wuv you, you wuv me...
By BRB29 on 5/29/2014 8:14:19 AM , Rating: 2
Bet he has more money than anyone in Facebook

RE: I wuv you, you wuv me...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/29/14, Rating: -1
RE: I wuv you, you wuv me...
By FITCamaro on 5/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: I wuv you, you wuv me...
By Samus on 5/29/2014 1:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. Facebook seems to have more transparency than Google+, which wants to share things like your uploaded pictures to circles by default. It's less intuitive to configure security settings in Google+ than it is on Facebook or Twitter.

I still don't have a Facebook, but being in IT I find myself unfortunately dealing with it every day, usually blacklisting it in a firewall ;)

By chromal on 5/29/2014 9:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
This mascot is Zuckerberg's thinly-veiled statement that people who are concerned about privacy are, literally, dinosaurs; extinct relics of another era.

May Zuckerberg be run over by a bus.

RE: offensive
By Alexvrb on 5/29/2014 11:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
It does come off as rather patronizing. But Zuckerberg has always been a prick, so no shock there. Plus, I don't see Privosaurus Rex offering an option to avoid sharing with the NSA!

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