From Tracie: Should You Be Scared Of Facebook Graph Search?

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Should You Be Scared Of Facebook Graph Search?

Facebook has unleashed Graph Search to everyone. What does this mean for you? It means every thing you have liked, every place you have checked in, and every picture you have been tagged in, is easily searchable by your friends and friends of your friends.

This would be a good time to look at the entire list of things you have liked on facebook, and see if there are any pages you would like to un-like. Also look at places where you have checked in, and pictures in which you have been tagged.

It is a good time to look at ALL your privacy settings on facebook.
That hilarious page you liked five years ago as a private joke between you and a friend - the one that doesn't post updates, so you don't even remember it is listed on your like list? It might not be funny when it comes up in a Graph Search.

Facebook Graph Search notification

Is Facebook Graph Search a real privacy concern?
It absolutely is. I immediately think about people who are in high risk situations (you already have a stalker or you are trying to get out of a relationship that involves domestic violence). You need to be aware how easy it is for someone to find you based on the things you share, the places you check in, and the things in which you are tagged.

Graph Search could still effect you negatively, even if you are not in a high risk situation. Think about this: You purposely did not friend your boss on facebook, but you did friend some of your coworkers, and one of those coworkers has friended your boss. With graph search making it possible to find results not only from friends, but also from friends of friends, your boss now has the potential for more access to your facebook information than he did last week.

I've had Graph Search since February. The first few days it was fun to play with. I mostly threw out crazy searches, and had a few laughs. It could also be used to find a book, movie, or restaurant idea the way facebook presented it (but really, I don't have time for that, and will never use it that way).

Graph Search is what you make of it. People who want to use it for less than honorable purposes, will. Like everything else in life.

The first thing you need to do is check all your privacy settings.
Are you sensing a trend in this post? Please. Check your privacy settings.
Anything that has been shared publicly, or shared with friends of friends, will be searchable.

If you are unsure how to check or change your privacy settings, this video and page will give you a good starting point. Remember this: hiding an item from your timeline does not mean it does not exist. If someone posts a photo of you, tags you in a status, or checks you into a place, and you do not want that information on facebook, you need to ask the person who posted it to remove it.

With facebook, it is not just the things you share, but the things your friends share, that can put your information out there. Do not be shy about asking someone to remove a picture, check in, or tag. You have the right to decide how much information you want about yourself on the internet.

I approach facebook (and twitter, and all social media) the same way I approach blogging: I start with the question,"What am I willing to share publicly?" and don't cross that line. Even though my facebook privacy settings are pretty high, I still think of every single status update, picture, like, or shared link as if it was being shared publicly before I hit that button.

Are you concerned about Graph Search?
Have you talked about privacy settings, and searchability with the teens in your life who are on facebook?


  1. There are some privacy settings where the highest one is "friends of friends", which is a bit unnerving. I'm off to recheck my settings!

  2. I need to go check my settings too.

  3. OK... this is kinda crazy... I never even thought about how everyone can check out my stuff.. don't like that!

  4. Every time Facebook changes something I check my privacy settings! I had heard of Graph Search but honestly, I didn't really get what it was about until now!

  5. Ugh! I feel like I am constantly doublechecking my privacy. Might be time to get rid of Facebook... thanks for the heads up!

  6. Woah. I'm off to check all my settings now! I keep everything on my personal page very private, but I'll have to go check.

  7. Good post. Thank you for the enlightenment.

  8. Off to check right now! This is crazy and scary! Thanks for the heads up! :)-Ashley

  9. Well I am now I had not heard about it but now it makes me think, so thank you for bringing this to my attention

  10. I'm constantly checking my privacy settings. I hate how FB keeps changing things on us and exposing more things we don't want people knowing. I've def cut down on posting on my personal page b/c of this.

  11. This is a great post. One thing that I find frustrating is the things that constantly change on facebook. I don't post a lot on my personal page, but I may start posting even less there. One thing I wonder...even if you change your privacy settings which I have done, what about the things that you posted back before you changed them?

  12. Facebook is so creepy sometimes! I recently went through and individually deleted all the photos of my kids that I had ever posted on FB. There have been too many times where FB makes an update and my privacy settings default back to "public" or "friends of friends." Now I am only sharing photos over on Instagram (which I know is owned by FB) and I am being much more selective about who I allow to follow me.

  13. This IS a great post! A long time ago I set my privacy so that no one could tag one of my pics without my permission, nor could they post it to my timeline without my permission. Heading back to check my privacy, again. Thanks!

  14. Nothing is private anymore. Nothing. I have Googled myself several times to see what comes up and to see if there is anything to worry about but now this graph search in a whole new monkey wrench. Great info. Thank you!