Chrome Privacy Checkup

Summer Research @ CMU Human-Computer Interaction Institute

In summer 2018, I worked as a research intern at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon with Prof. Jason Hong and Prof Laura Dabbish. Me and my research partner Gus (A cool human being and current Phd @ Northwestern) built a tool in Chrome NewTab page to design to help people manage their Facebook privacy settings.


  • Skills
  • User Experience Design
  • User Study Design
  • Full-Stack Development

  • Tools
  • ReactJS
  • Meteor
  • GraphQL
  • Prototyping

Problem and Motivation

We observe raising public awareness of protecting personal data on social media platforms such as Facebook. However, it’s really hard for the public to know what are good Facebook settings to have.

Studies in the academia suggest social influence can help improve security and privacy behaviors online. This made us think of collecting preferences for Facebook and incorporating crowdsourcing to help people configure their privacy profiles.

Privacy Checkup

Design and Implementation

Database: We use MongoDB for our database to store and update crowdsourcing results for analytics.

Server and UI: Our server is implemented using Meteor,a Node.js framework for fast-building web and mobile apps. The front-end was developed using React, a Facebook framework for front-end development. React comes handy because it makes it much easier to connect front-end interactions to back-end updates.

Personalization for users: The Facebook Privacy Checkup enables users to directly view their currently selected options on Facebook. To fetch and display the current user setting, we collect facebook.com cookies and send them to the user REST API as a POST request. To protect user's data privacy, the cookies are automatically cleared whenever the user exits the application.

Privacy Checkup Implementation
Privacy Checkup Implementation