Facebook Launches Graph Search

facebook-graph-search-logoRecently, Facebook began to debut the highly anticipated Graph Search. If you are a Facebook user, you may already be seeing the upgraded search bar. While Graph Search is reportedly faster, easier to use, and better at choosing relevant results, many are nervous about its capabilities. With Graph Search, any user can access personal information about you if you haven’t updated your privacy settings to protect all aspects of your profile.

What Is Graph Search?

Essentially, Graph Search allows you to search any public information across multiple axes, using specific search queries. For example, you can type “people who live in Massachusetts and like the Red Sox” into the search bar, and everyone who lives in the state of Massachusetts would appear in the results (just kidding). You can also search within just your friends list rather than all of Facebook.

The capabilities of Graph Search mean that any information on your profile that is public can appear in search results for all Facebook users, from your best friend to your future employer. This is especially perilous for information from the past. Facebook has changed the way their privacy settings work numerous times, and past information may be public even if you think it isn’t.

How Can I Keep My Information Safe?

Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with Facebook’s complex array of privacy settings and protect your information – past, present, and future. For most past posts, you can click on “Limit Past Posts” in your privacy settings and select “Limit Old Posts.” For present and future activity, you can use the “Who can see my stuff?” privacy settings. This will allow you to change settings using the “Activity Log.” Here, you can untag photos, delete embarrassing “likes,” and edit your interests and preferences for movies, music, games, TV shows, etc.

In “Who can see my stuff?” you can also change your default preferences for who will see your future posts. Furthermore, you can change the settings for Timeline and Tagging in your account settings. This will allow you to review content, such as photos that your friends tag you in, before that content appears on your Timeline.

The bottom line of graph search? Update your privacy settings ASAP, and then obtain embarrassing information about those who haven’t.

What do you think of Facebook’s new Graph Search?

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Elizabeth K

Elizabeth Kent is a recent graduate with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Brandeis University. She earned her B.A. from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in Jewish Studies. Elizabeth recently relocated from the Boston area back to Western Massachusetts, where she spends her free time volunteering with a local non-profit organization. Elizabeth has worked as a writing tutor, archival intern, research assistant, and retail associate. Her interests include studying pop culture, kittens, and making meals with as little cooking as possible.

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