Facebook Search Graph Is Here: Fix Your Privacy Settings (Again!)

Posted Thursday, January 24, 2013 in Social Media by Patricia Seybold

Facebook Graph Search joins Timeline and Newsfeed as a third “capability” in Facebook that most of us didn’t want and haven’t welcomed. The clue is in the name itself. No real person wants to search the “social graph.” Only robots spawned by marketers do. Facebook Graph Search lets applications and algorithms (and individuals) look for and aggregate likes, check-ins, photos, and profiles.

What’s in it for us? As an end-user (not an application), you can search for other people who like Gilbert & Sullivan who live in the Boston area—that’s useful if you’re putting on a performance. But marketers and their algorithms are likely to be much more invasive. And what about those things you “liked” that you may not want showing up on a search. For example, I work for Apple, but I liked Samsung phones at some point in the past?

Anthony Kosner’s thoughtful article in Forbes, “Facebook Graph Search Is A Disruptive Minefield Of Unintended Consequences” provides some thoughtful analysis about what Facebook Graph Search means for marketers and competitors.

Electronic Frontier Foundation provides the best guidance for how to fix your privacy settings, including “unliking” things you’ve liked in the past and untagging yourself from photos.

1 comment


  • Jseybold
    Jonathan Seybold on January 27, 2013 at 1:17 p.m.
    There was a piece that ran on CNN last night:
    An interview with the girl who's pictures were used in the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax.
    The hoax was concocted by a ex-high school classmate of hers. (She graduated in 2007).
    She had been social engineered into providing one of the pictures used. All of the rest had been lifted from her Facebook page and from those her FB friends had posted on their own pages. The guy had been cyber stalking her for years!
    She was clearly very knowledgeable about FB privacy settings and recited the litany of everything she did to make sure that something like this could not happen. She even said that she aways double-checked the distribution of every single thing she posted. All to no avail.
     
    Interesting thing was that, even now, it didn't seem to occur to her that perhaps the cost of being on FB wasn't worth the risk.
     
    It is going to be fascinating to see how Search Graph works out. I, too, see it most valuable as a tool for marketers.
     
    In general, I think that we are still a long way from working out the acceptable cost of "free" internet services.
    Google searches are increasingly corrupted by barely-distinquished up-front placement of paid ads, preferential treatment for Google-related services and extensive gaming the system.
    The amount of advertising on Google maps is starting to interfere with their functionality.
    Increasingly often, when I ask for directions from city A to city B, I get directions to specific advertisers — who may not even be near where I want to go. (A recent request for directions from Ocala FLA to Tampa returned directions to an advertiser in St. Pete! Another request for the address of a Fed Ex drop box in Santa Fe returned directions to an advertiser who was more than a block away in the same office complex.)
    And, of course, everyone is pushing to see how much they can infringe on our privacy in order to sell us to advertisers.
     
    Jonathan
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