Don’t Depend on Facebook to Protect Your Children From Graph Search Stalkers

facebook-security-4Shortly after Graph Search was introduced, 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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 are 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. Also, plenty of children between the ages of 13-17 have committed stalking and other related crimes.

We encourage all of our readers to take Graph Search seriously, and consider the privacy and security implications of the feature, especially if you are a parent or guardian. And always be sure to keep close tabs on who your child is friends with on Facebook.

Please see the following guides and resources:

How to Lockdown Your Facebook Account For Maximum Privacy and Security