ILLUSTRATION: LINDSAY BOECKL

Our profiles get a SimpleWashing

In Business & Technology /

 

The Eyeopener vs. SimpleWash

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By Jeff Lagerquist

An online footprint is unique, like a booze-soaked, break-up infused snowflake. It’s a thing of beauty.

The 3 a.m. status updates and profanity laden party pics are a digital monument to an adolescence well lived.

But when you’re eye to eye in a job interview, or receiving a friend request from a new boss, your expertly documented dormitory exploits may not reflect the wellcoiffed professional image that you’ve worked so hard for.

The days of painstaking Facebook audits, switching your profile to your mother’s maiden name, or temporarily shutting down your social media presence are over.

SimpleWash will scour your Facebook wall, status updates, comments, tagged photos, and liked items for any hint of controversy.

Within minutes, you can tone your account down to a PG rating.

The free web app uses an algorithm of hundreds of potentially naughty words to comb through your profile. Users can apply their best judgment and delete anything they deem not safe for work.

“We wanted to develop a cool little tool that could go back through your history and present you with content that you might have forgotten about or may be loosely connected to,” said David Steinberg, one of the Kent State students that developed Simple Wash.

With some companies demanding a peek at the Facebook profiles of new hires, and office culture continuing to embrace social media, SimpleWash allows users to know exactly what’s visible online without using Facebook’s top level of privacy settings.

“I know some employers who say if they find a Facebook profile that’s overly privatized, they wonder what that person has to hide,” said Steinberg.

Currently the app can only scan for words, but the three-man team of developers is working on image recognition features.

“If SimpleWash finds what we believe to be an object that maybe you don’t want attached to you online, we’ll let you know the percentage that your photo matches our library and how far the image has spread in your social circles,” said Steinberg.

The iconic red party cup commonly used for beer pong and flip cup is the first object being tested.

“You can use your imagination for the types of things we’ll be looking for,” said Steinberg.

Originally named FaceWash, the app was developed for the PennApps Hackathon competition at the University of Pennsylvania on Jan. 18. Since its public release on Jan. 20, roughly 120,000 Facebook users have scanned their accounts.

The fresh name is meant to hint at new features, including an application for Twitter, which is expected within a few days.

SimpleWash is currently compatible with English and Spanish, but German, Italian, and French versions are in the works.

The three developers confirm that they have received interest from people wanting to partner, however nothing has been officially confirmed.

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