What Facebook’s New Graph Search Means for Your Privacy

by Alex Fitzpatrick, Mashable.com  |  published on January 17, 2013

graph search

Facebook on Tuesday introduced “Graph Search,” a new search technology that will allow users to find content based on certain criteria — “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” for example.

Graph Search almost immediately sparked questions about user privacy. What will Graph Search mean for your Facebook privacy?

People will be able to use Graph Search to find any content that you already share with them. Uploaded some public, geo-tagged photos of the Empire State Building? They’re Graph Searchable by anyone and everyone. Like “Toy Story 3?” If your likes are public, that like is Graph Searchable by all. Checked-in to Golden Gate Park, but you have your privacy set so only friends can see your check-ins? That’s Graph Searchable, but only by your friends. And so on.

Ultimately, any of your content that could be discovered before Graph Search will be discoverable after Graph Search, and it will not cause any content to be revealed that wasn’t already accessible.

“It makes finding new things much easier, but you can only see what you could already view elsewhere on Facebook,” reads a Facebook press release.

One important point: Like before, any photo of you that someone else uploads will be searchable per that user’s privacy settings. As an example, if a friend uploads a picture of you at a bar, geo-tags it and sets it as public, it will be Graph Searchable to anyone who searches for pictures from that bar. You can, however, make sure to untag yourself or request the uploader of the photo remove it from Facebook or change the privacy settings.

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