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Facebook Graph Search. A tool to create or destroy?

Facebook’s new Graph Search is a very interesting tool that can be used to dive into the Facebook data that is publicly available. It can also make it ridiculously easy to dig up embarrassing facts you’ve forgotten you’ve even said about yourself. So how will you use this new tool? Will you use it to connect with new people with similar interests as Facebook intends or will you use it to embarrass a distant acquaintance with their ignorance of how public their posts on Facebook really are?

The Good

Interested in networking?  There are of course many different avenues for doing so online (LinkedIn being one of the most well known) however with the new release of the Facebook Graph Search finding people outside of your existing circle of friends is easy. A simple search of “People who I work with at Perficient and live nearby” or even add a further search filter with “and like Paddy’s Pub” so that you can plan a popular meet and greet.

The Bad

The internet is famous for bringing the worst out in people and access to this level of data will show that(both for the people who think of these searches and for those who can be found by them).  Just days after the launch of Facebook Graph Search we see screenshots of horrible cross referenced filters that produce results such as “Current employers of people who like racism” or “Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk.”  I’m sure you can think of a few creative searches on your own as well.

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Be Safe Online

The internet is only going to know what you share with them.  Never consider a post sacred or secret. You never really know who’s on the other end of the message and most of these mishaps can simply be a result of those who haven’t educated themselves. These people who end up in these searches are likely the victims of their own ignorance. The good news is Facebook Graph Search will obey the settings you have tied into your account.  Review them and make sure that only the information you want public is available before you see yourself in a search result like those returned above.

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Andy Scott

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