Facebook rolled out the much-hyped Graph Search to its users a few months ago. With every major Facebook change, some users worry about negative effects: In December 2012, Facebook changed its privacy settings (again), which reset default settings for users who had painstakingly customised their privacy settings.
Facebook Graph search makes your information easier to find. While this may cause fear among some users, who prefer to keep personal information private, graph search is not inherently scary. Unpacking how it works can help alleviate the fear of the new.
How graph search works
Facebook’s present search tool is fairly limited: Type in a name and Facebook returns users, businesses or pages with that name. If no one with that name is on Facebook, the search returns web results. Graph search is poised to revolutionize this by allowing more advanced queries. Now, users can search for a subset of other users who like a certain thing, work for a certain company or live in a certain place. If you’re traveling to Berlin and want to crash on an acquaintance’s sofa, you can search for “friends of friends in Berlin,” for example. You can also perform general queries like “Social Media Gibraltar employees.”
While Graph Search can be helpful, it also opens up the possibility that friends, acquaintances or potential employers could stumble across unflattering photos or status updates you’ve posted. From a technical standpoint, Graph Search isn’t making new information public, but it is making your personal information more discoverable.
Protecting privacy under Social Media Gibraltar
Facebook does offer ways for you to hide information you don’t want to appear in Graph Search when it comes to Social Media Gibraltar or social media in general. The “limit old posts” setting allows you to limit old posts to friends. The “untag photos” feature removes tags of you from embarrassing photos. Personal information and Likes can be shared with friends or friends of friends only, for greater privacy controls. Each time you post content to Facebook, you can select the audience, limiting everything to friends only or choosing to make content public.
While Graph Search does represent something new and different, it isn’t inherently scary. Learning how to control your privacy can help put fears to rest and allow you to focus on how Graph Search can promote connectedness in new and unusual ways.