When three computer science majors from Kent State University drove out to the University of Pennsylvania together for a hackathon, they dreamed up an idea for an app that would clean up unwanted Facebook posts.
"We wanted to give (Facebook) users a choice to control what potential employers might see," said David Steinberg.
Steinberg is one of the app's developers and acknowledges that many college graduates may be entering the professional world for the first time and will want to make, well, a clean impression.
Over the course of the weekend, Steinberg, alongside collaborators Daniel Gur and Camden Fullmer, programmed an app that searches text on Facebook allowing users to find and delete posts, captions and links from their profiles that could appear unprofessional.
"On Saturday evening, we were ready to throw the project away," said Fullmer. "But by Sunday, we were excited to see the positive feedback."
One week and several tweaks and fixes later, the threesome has seen the app's usage grow exponentially. According to Gur, FaceWash had more than 47, 000 unique users as of Friday morning.
Facebook Graph Search: Now Is the Time to Go Over Your Privacy Settings
To use the app, go to facewa.sh, and then log in to Facebook. Select "Go to App," and allow FaceWash to access your posts and news feeds. (You can set permissions so that only you can see posts the app makes to your newsfeed). Press "Start" to begin cleaning and the app will search through comments on your timeline and tags on your photos, as well as links you have liked and status updates you have posted. Once the app finds potentially unwanted text, it will provide a link to the post with the questionable word[s] highlighted.
In my case, the app found the words "hard core" in a post from a friend (I can promise you this was benign).
Click on the link to the post, and delete it from there.
For the moment, FaceWash is limited to text searches; if you are looking for embarrassing photos, the app will only find them through comments and descriptions. Steinberg said image and object recognition is something the team is working on, as well as the ability to search in multiple languages.
Is it easy to set up? Yes. Go to facewash, select "Get Started," and log in to Facebook.
Should you try it? Yes. FaceWash is easy to use and the website provides a quick and thorough overview on how to use it in case you have questions before you get started. However, it is important to know, the app remains in Beta stage, so you can expect some minor glitches here and there. Still, the developers plan to continue to roll out improvements over the coming months. Chances are you or someone you know on your Facebook page posted something somewhere you would rather not have to explain to a hiring manager … so why not freshen up your profile?