Kent State students develop program to clean your Facebook profile of unwanted content

KENT, Ohio - Have some dirty laundry on Facebook you need to "wash"? Three Kent State University students created a program called "FaceWash" that will help you do just that.

The students, Junior Daniel Gur, Senior David Steinberg and Junior Camden Fullmer, all have a major in Computer Science at KSU and developed the program at a "Hacker" competition, placing in the top 20.  But the buzz their app is getting would make you think they won first place and Nobel Peace Prize.

"I know last year when I was looking for internships, I had to go through my Facebook, you know, to delete all undesirable content and that took me hours and hours.. and I mean it was like a real hassle and to go through photos. It's a pain," said Daniel Gur, one of the app's designers.

It's one of the reasons they decided to create FaceWash.

FaceWash, spelled with a period before the "s" and "h" online, is a program that accesses your Facebook page when you grant it permission, identifies "unwanted posts" and allows you to delete those posts no matter how long ago they were posted. How does this work? 

You first go to the FaceWash site by typing "Facewash" in your URL box. Once you're on the app homepage, click "Get Started" and log in your Facebook information. Then you'll see a small box on the top left corner that will let you search for certain words, or hit "search." The code these three students developed will search questionable words for you. The app then pulls up those posts and you then have the option of clicking on them to find them and delete them. You can find old posts you've forgotten about years ago - and new ones.

Being of the "social media" generation , David Steinberg, one of app designers said, "A lot of us started when we were quite young, using the internet, posting about ourselves and our friends … the way you view the world really changes and when you get to a point when you say, 'I'm really happy I moved on past a lot of stuff,' it can be difficult at times to make sure it's not attached to you still."

The app is only about 10 days old but already, the students say it's getting a great deal of attention. 

"We've had over 135,000 unique visits under 10 days, and that's in over 175 nations," said Camden Fullmer, the app's third designer.

"This is for people to use to really help themselves out and make smart choices for themselves. So we've gotten great feedback," said Steinberg, " … someone called us a 'heroic janitor on a mission' and I just, I was like, that's the coolest, thank you. You just made my day!"

What about username and password information? How do app users know it's safe?

Steinberg answered, "The way that Facebook does this is…it's an authorization process. So we as a user do not access your content.  We, as a sanctioned application, have access to your content only through automation tokens that our severs handle. We don't store your information. Once you've actually logged out of Facebook, you're not still logged into our system."

"This is to help you out securely.  This is nothing to use your information for malicious means," added Steinberg.

Because the app is so new, the three students say it's free and they're also working to make it better. They're trying to create code that would allow for facial recognition software so the search will also pick up photos and not just verbal posts. They also say they're trying to expand it to Twitter.

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