Design / Privacy / Social media / Web development

Hey, devs: Use this free, privacy-protecting, customizable social share button

The Simple Sharing Buttons Generator is a little innovation for a problem you might not even have known your site had.

The Simple Sharing Button Generator by Stefan Bohacek. (Courtesy image)

Some think that big innovations happen as strokes of genius: the iPod came out of the brain of Steve Jobs in a lightning bolt, gravity hit Isaac Newton on the head, a hunter gatherer in the Neolithic Age was like, Wait, I should plant these plants next to my house instead of go out and forage for them every day.
As often as that is the case, more often innovation is a slow creep of small improvements by many minds over time, even if some of those tweaks and patches get lost in the later narrative that emerges.
Anyway, here’s one of those tweaks, and it’s cool.
It’s called Simple Sharing Buttons Generator and it’s by Stefan Bohacek. Bohacek is Brooklyn famous for being the inventor of BotWiki, a digital encyclopedia of bots that can be found and used online.

With the Simple Sharing Buttons Generator, users can make customizable buttons to share articles and what have you on social media, but do so in a way that makes your site faster and more private than the buttons provided by Facebook or Twitter themselves.
“Social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, provide you with a JavaScript code that lets your user share your website on these social media sites,” Bohacek writes in explanation. “These scripts, however, do a lot more than that. Fortunately, there is a very simple alternative that’s privacy-friendly and doesn’t require slowing down your site while external JavaScript files are loaded.”
The privacy issue is that each time someone shares or likes something from a Facebook button, Facebook knows that. Even if you choose not to interact too much with Facebook, these small actions add up.

A research paper about online privacy and our digital profiles wrote specifically about the Like function of Facebook. In Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior, published in 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, three researchers used a dataset of 58,000 volunteers and were able to determine with surprising accuracy several important facts about people.
“Likes represent a very generic class of digital records, similar to Web search queries, Web browsing histories, and credit card purchases,” the research team writes. “For example, observing users’ Likes related to music provides similar information to observing records of songs listened to online, songs and artists searched for using a Web search engine, or subscriptions to related Twitter channels. In contrast to these other sources of information, Facebook Likes are unusual in that they are currently publicly available by default.”

That's a lotta stuff.

That’s a lotta stuff. (Screenshot)

We tried it out the Simple Sharing Buttons Generator, and we have to say, it seems legit. It felt weirdly good to share something and not give a megacorporation the data of me sharing it.

Series: Brooklyn

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