capsule review

Websense TRITON Defensio Social Web Security for Facebook

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Websense TRITON Defensio Social Web Security for Facebook

    PCWorld Rating

Facebook is no longer just a fun way to waste time. Today, you're as likely to run across prospective employers there as you are old classmates--and that's to say nothing of the scammers and spammers you might find, too. Keeping your Facebook profile and pages professional-looking can be a chore, and keeping them free of spam and scams can be downright impossible.

Enter Websense's TRITON Defensio Social Web Security. Available as a Facebook app (free for personal use; business versions range from $299 to $7,999 per year), it's designed to keep your Facebook pages free of unwanted and potentially harmful content. It's easy to use, but is hamstrung by Facebook's limiting APIs.

You activate Defensio by clicking its Facebook page and granting it permission to access your Facebook account. You can have it protect personal profiles or Facebook pages (such as those set up for a business or other activity) from profanity, spam, and potentially malicious content, such as viruses and phishing scams.

The problem: Defensio's ability to protect a personal profile is limited by Facebook's API, which does not allow third-party apps to remove content from a user's profile. That means every bit of risky content and profanity--from "hell" to the f- word--appears on your profile. Defensio alerts you at an e-mail address you supply that suspect content has been posted. Unfortunately, Defensio's e-mail alerts always arrived a few minutes after Facebook's message telling me that a friend had posted on my wall. Because I had Facebook's own alerts enabled, Defensio's alerts only told me what I already knew.

Another issue: Defensio's default profanity feature isn't enabled by, well, default. I had to turn it on manually. Before I did so, the app didn't alert me to profanity. Once the default feature was enabled, the app proved fairly adept at picking up suspect profanity, catching most of the swears sent my way, with no false positives. Unfortunately, it missed several posts, including some with the same curse words it had previously identified. Results with porn links were similarly mixed: It did not notify me of a porn site link that had been posted to my wall, even though the link's description contained the phrase "naked girls." It did, however, flag a posted link to a more obvious porn site.

When Defensio does catch posts containing suspected profanity, spam, or malicious content, they're listed in its "Comment Moderation" section. You're given two options: "Delete" or "Not Spam." Opting for "Not Spam" simply removes the comment from Defensio's list. Selecting "Delete" doesn't delete the post; instead, it generates a pop-up message telling you that due to Facebook limitations, you must manually delete the post.

Defensio's approach would make sense if the Comment Moderation section acted as a queue for holding suspect posts, which you could then delete or approve for posting. I understand that the app is hamstrung by some of Facebook's rules. But the limitations would be less frustrating if the software's interface made them clearer.

Websense, the company behind Defensio, says these limitations apply only to personal profiles, not Facebook pages set up for companies. If you're a business user looking to safeguard your company's Facebook fan page, then Defensio might prove a useful companion. We did not test it on business pages profiles, and thus can't give an opinion on that service. And if you're looking for guidance on which Facebook posts might contain suspect content, Defensio might point them out. But if you want to keep your Facebook profile squeaky clean for any and all eyes, Defensio for Facebook doesn't do anything you can't do on your own.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you must sign up to use this Web-based software.

--Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Keep your Facebook account free of spam and malicious content with this free Web service.

    Pros

    • Free; Easy to use

    Cons

    • Doesn't catch all suspect content; doesn't automatically delete content
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