Facebook published a blog post on Monday this week announcing that a small number of trial users would now be able to use the site’s Graph Search function to search users’ posts, status updates, comments, check-ins and photo captions. The feature lets users not only search through content on their own timeline but also on the timeline of their friends.
By typing any topic into the search bar, the function allows users to see what their friends have ever said about the topic in a public post. This is obviously a step toward the “social conversation” model of social media that Twitter pioneered, but it’s also a big opportunity for Facebook advertisers. Many users will also doubtlessly be concerned by the privacy implications of suddenly having all of their comments rendered searchable. Some experts have also expressed concerns about the potential uses that phishers and other cybercriminals could derive from Graph Search.
“Facebook has always been useful for attackers to gather information about a specific target. Facebook Graph turns this on its head and allows an attacker that doesn’t have a specific person in mind to browse and select several targets based on search criteria,” said Trevor Hawthorn, the Chief Technology Officer of ThreatSim.
We have repeatedly warned about the privacy dangers associated with Graph Search. For more information and to better secure your account, please see these related blog posts:
Readers: do you think Graph Search will be a useful social function, or are you going to lock your content down so you can’t be found on it?