Facebook Graph Search – Privacy Concern or Not

I’ve been doing some research on Graphical Search, what it is, how it works and what I or others can do with it. I quickly came across a few blog posts that really help to shine a light on this topic. Take 30 minutes and read these posts and you will be off to a good start on managing Graph Search as best you can.

Actual Facebook Graph Searches – This tumblr blog really got this topic going. The author did some clever searches which revealed some embarrassing results, most famously, “married people who like prostitutes”. This is a simple way understand how graph search works. The software takes pieces of data about you and matches them to whatever the search criteria is. I think it’s intended for searches like, find restaurants your friends like and not your friends who like prostitutes.

How to Use Facebook’s New Graph Feature – and not get embarrassed – So now you know a little about how graph search works and the potential issues with it, Ted Nguyen has a nice post with more detailed mechanics and what you might do to address privacy concerns (and avoid potentially embarrassing graph snafus).

Facebook Privacy: Users Should Check These Settings as New Changes Roll Out – Hayley Tsukayama is a technology writer for The Washington Post and wrote this post which explains exactly what changed about Facebook near the end of 2013 and why it may affect you.

One thing is clear. If you are on social media of any type, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ being the biggest, then you have no reasonable expectation of privacy similar to someone who is not. How much privacy do you have? That’s not clear, but the safe assumption is none. If you are not comfortable with that assumption you have three options.

1. Adjust your expectations. You have to accept that there are benefits accruing to you with the use of social media. That benefit is real if not easily measured. With those benefits there is a cost. Using Facebook is free, but it will cost you some privacy. That’s fair. Get used to it.

2. Become a privacy guru. There are settings that can help prevent being embarrassed. It’s not perfect but it will give you some sense of control. Your way of increasing the personal benefit or getting move value from the loss of privacy. You may even want to go hog wild and become a privacy advocate, organize some demonstrations and petitions and just have a grand time fighting it out with Google and Facebook. or not.

3. Find alternative social networks that will not do Facebook like searching. There are some out there that claim to protect your privacy, such as the guys at www.ninoff.com Ninoff stands for No I Am Not on Freaking Facebook by the way. Seriously. Look it up.

4. Drop out. Delete your account and get off social media altogether. The nuclear option I guess. But remember this comes at a price. You do receive benefits from using social media. If you don’t think you are getting anything from social media that’s valuable then I would ask why are you still on it anyway.