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hide facebook messagesFacebook-related privacy concerns have been around almost from the first day Facebook opened. Justified or not, Facebook has been under the magnifying glass in regards to anything that has to do with privacy. Many people tend to forget that no matter what their privacy settings are, everything they do on Facebook is visible to Facebook. Even if you choose your status updates to be seen just by a few people, Facebook can still use it for their own agenda.

uProtect.it is a tool that helps you solve just this problem, and adds an extra security layer to all of your Facebook communications.

Setting Up

To start with uProtect.it, head over to the website and sign up to the service.

hide facebook messages

uProtect it can be used either as an add-on (Chrome/Firefox) or as a bookmarklet. After you sign up and install it, you’ll need to log into Facebook. uProtect.it will now automatically appear at the top of your Facebook account.

hide messages on facebook

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You can choose to turn uProtect.it off at any time. You don’t have to visit the website for this – there’s a big shiny on/off switch at the top right of the green bar. So if you’re sick of it trying to protect you, simply switch it off. The green bar will remain there so you can turn it back on at any time. If you want to get rid of the green bar altogether, you’d need to sign out of uProtect.it.

hide messages on facebook

Protecting Your Communications

When uProtect.it is up and running, every time you try posting a new status or comment, you’ll see a somewhat different interface than you’re used to.

hide messages on facebook

uProtect.it adds two buttons: Control and Protect My Message. The first gives you access to your friends list where you can choose who will be able to view this status or comment. You can pick and choose your friends, and also add an expiration date to the comment. Clicking on “Protect My Message” will post your protected message.

private facebook message

A protected message will appear as a link to everyone, but only the people you chose will actually get access to the message itself. This is what a protected message will look like to everyone:

private facebook message

The reason the word “Hello” is visible to everyone, is because I used some syntax. If there are parts of the message you wish or need to be visible to everyone, simply add hash tags before each of them. So for example, you can write: #Please #read #this: let’s meet tomorrow at 8PM at the bar.

private facebook message

If your friends already have uProtect.it installed, and they were chosen to see the message, the message will simply appear in their feed and they won’t have to click anything. The only sign will be a small lock icon on the right side.

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If they don’t have the add-on, they will have to click the link in order to view the message. If they’re on the allowed list, uProtect.it will display the message to them and prompt them to install the plugin as well.

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On the same line, you can post pictures and post on people’s walls, and hide those too from the general public and from Facebook.

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Settings

When you log onto uProtect.it you’ll gain access to some settings you can play around with. These are located on the actual uProtect.it website, which you can access from your Facebook page at any time by clicking the “visit uProtect.it button.

The first thing you can view is your dashboard. Here you can see all the protected message you’ve sent plus their expiration dates. You can delete messages or click to view them. On the right you will also get a message count and a count of how many of your friends joined the service.

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Earlier, I showed you how you can pick and choose friends for each protected post. But if you have a set group of friends you usually want to send these to, you can define it in the settings. Here you can set up your default permissions: what friends will be able to see your messages.

hide facebook messages

Bottom Line

If your Facebook privacy is really important to you, uProtect.it is a really nice and effective tool. I did encounter some bugs when trying to use two Facebook users under the same browser, but most people will probably not come across them.

While uProtect.it really is a nice tool, I still think people could simply send an e-mail if they want to say something important and private. Not everything in the world has to go through Facebook.

What do you think? Will you use uProtect.it or is it better simply not to use Facebook for these things? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Anonymous
    October 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    why would I care who can see my facebook page.. My clandestine communication is confined to a written messages which self destruct in the chief's face peeking out of the trash can where he was hiding before I got in the gadget-mobile off to foil Dr.Claw totally unaware that my 8yr old neice and her dog keep saving my dumb ass from being selected naturally..  I'm totally serious.

  2. Me
    October 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    and whom protect us from Uprotect.it? ;)

    • Yaara
      October 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Us, if we choose to actually make our private communications private. :)

  3. Splitinfinity101
    October 7, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I cant see how this is anymore secure than publishing data on facebook. First of all this is a huge inconvenience, as it requires an add-on or bookmarklet - containing client side code, which may lead to browser insecurity. Secondly, it wont work with mobile devices and requires installing on every machine you use to access facebook with. Thirdly uprotectit can now see your messages and finally, facebook already has everyones facebook account details, so if a facebook employee wanted to see your uber-top-secret status update about what movie your going to watch tonight - I cant see why they cannot impersonate the allowed list of users and see the message on the uprotectit site.

    If you really want to protect messages, use something like public key encryption or stenography. This post was useless and imo leads some users into a heightenend sense of security wherein it introduces inconvenience and allows another server to see your messages.

    • Yaara
      October 7, 2011 at 11:52 am

      Thanks for the elaborate comment, Splitinfinity. :)

      I generally agree with you, and I did not mean for users to feel that when they're using uProtect.it they're more secure in any way. This is just another way to encrypt things on Facebook which some people may like.

      Personally, like I mentioned at the end of the post, I think that Facebook is not the place for "secret" things anyway. 

      About installing it on every machine - you could just use the bookmarklet if you wish. I think the service itself is well done and wanted to inform people about it. How and why people choose to use it is a different story. I see it more as a fun add-on than a real security measure.

  4. m3
    October 7, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I think what's meant here is that the message is not stored on facebook's servers (privacy issues) and apparently the author thinks that some strange site noone has ever heard of is better.

    • Yaara
      October 7, 2011 at 7:29 am

      I never said it was better in any way, I just gave people the option. I know several people who would prefer their data to go through any site but Facebook. Is it justified? I don't necessarily think so. But some people still prefer it.

  5. Noone
    October 7, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Interesting BUT you claim throughout that its hidden from facebook, I see no way this is hidden from facebook. It seems to be just a way of being more selective in who see's your messages but in the end they are still going through facebook so how exactly is this hiding it from facebook?

    • Joshua Todd Cowper
      October 7, 2011 at 6:19 am

      All that Facebook would see is whatever you've made public and a link to your message, and that link is to a site where Facebook can't see what you've posted.

    • Yaara
      October 7, 2011 at 7:27 am

      What Joshua wrote is in fact what I meant. Facebook will not able to see the part of the message you've hidden as it actually doesn't go through them.

      If this is good or not is for each user to decide. :)

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