Facebook Graph Search allows people to stalk the sh*t out of you
Seriously, other than giving pointy-nosed hob-nobs another way to dig into your personal life the positives listed so far for Graph Search functionality are pretty ridiculous. “Use Facebook Graph Search to reconnect with your graduating class” was one listed benefit of the new invasive search function. Ok Facebook, thank you very much, but I’m already part of a graduating class Facebook Group, which provides me more than plenty of updates regarding my loser graduating class. Why even have “Groups” if the Graph Search function is supposed to find these sorts of affiliations anyways? The answer, so people NOT IN THE GROUPS can search for all that juicy group information without ever being invited or requesting to join. Ah wonderful, less control, more creep.
Ok, Graph Search is creepy, but how does it work?
Well, simply put, Graph Search is a search engine for all data ever shared with Facebook that users have not specifically marked as “private”, or purposefully “Hidden from Timeline”. Given how much Facebook’s security and privacy settings change these days, the portion of unprotected profiles is undoubtably a large portion of total users, and thus, a large portion of the U.S population under 30. This includes information pulled form apps used, photos commented on or been tagged in, things liked, music shared and friends added. Apparently it seems the goal is to provide users with a more “human oriented” web search. If Facebook cannot return results for your search term it will give you Bing search engine results. Sorry Google, you’re not cool enough for the Facebook crew. (Count it as a blessing, not that G+ is anything to be proud of..)
It’s like a dating site, but 10 times creepier
Gizmodo likens the Graph Search to that of a very intelligent dating site.
“The way you sort through stuff is deeply reminiscent of how you’d sort through a traditional dating website. “Single Women who live within 25 miles of me with Blonde hair and Average body types and who Like Cats” is now, more or less, something you can type into Facebook’s Graph Search and get a real response. It would probably look like “Friends of My Friends who are Single and Live in My City and Female and like Cats.” Or something close. You type a sentence into the Graph Search bar that has a series of filters, like either of the above examples, and GS will give you suggested searches based on those.”
Thats all fine and dandy if you signed up for Facebook with the intention of some super stalker eventually wooing you through excessive knowledge of your social patterns. However if the whole stalker approach isn’t really your style, then you probably won’t be a huge fan of how much information the Graph Search can provide strangers. Time to study up on those privacy settings!
What is the point of the Graph Search anyways?
Nobody has yet laid a claim that sounded even slightly plausible as to a good reason why the public would need or want the Graph Search function outside of the ability to stalk. Seriously, want to know a good restaurant in a given location? Search engines have been perfecting the art of providing this information for decades. Want to know what your friends like to listen to on the East Coast? Ask them, or not, perhaps listen to your own music and stop caring so much about what other people do or think.
Facebook Graph Search ultimately will leave stalkers happier and regular users even more vulnerable, perplexed and angry. Next we will be publishing an article designed to inform anyone with a Facebook profile on how they can change their privacy settings so that all of their information won’t be available to the Graph Search. If you don’t want to bother with all that, then perhaps this is the invasive privacy-breaking straw that broke the trust-camel’s back. Ultimately, with ads and pervasive personal information sharing, deleting Facebook accounts might just be the best and safest way to go in the long run.