Yesterday, Facebook posted a note on its Safety Page called: “How Graph Search Works for Young People.” It’s an informative article that includes worthwhile safety tips for parents and teens alike, so it’s definitely worth reading.
In the note, Facebook describes how they have put safeguards in place to help protect teens using the platform.
- Sharing controls for teens are set to a maximum of Friends of Friends by default. This keeps them from accidentally sharing something publicly. Teens can choose to override this setting.
- Graph searches conducted by adults looking to identity young people by age or location should show up empty. Facebook will only show this information to Friends of Friends also between the age of 13-17.
It’s good that Facebook is being proactive and implementing these restrictions; however, don’t let this give you a false sense of security.
It’s not uncommon for teens to have hundreds if not thousands of Facebook friends. Teens often accept friend requests without too much thought or consideration. We have advised Facebook users to be very selective on who they friend on the platform in the first place.
One of the biggest loopholes and dangers that we see here is fake Facebook profiles. We have a blog post that addresses fake profiles in detail: Fake Facebook Profiles and Pages – the Tools of Scammers, Bullies and Thieves.
If a stalker or sexual predator creates a bogus profile and sets their age between 13-17, then they will be able to use Graph Search to look for potential victims. Adults pretending to be teens on Facebook to lure sexual victims is a common practice. There have been two news stories just this week about this issue.
We encourage all of our readers to take Graph Search seriously, and consider the privacy and security implications of the new feature, especially if you are a parent or guardian.
Please see the following guides and resources:
PRIVATE WiFi® is a Personal VPN that encrypts everything you send and receive. Don’t access Facebook from a public WiFi hotspot without it.
BitDefender Safego is a Facebook application you can install that will scan your News Feed and help keep you safe from scams on Facebook.
DoNotTrackMe protects your privacy by blocking online tracking. Abine – Online Privacy Starts Here.