When Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook’s new Graph Search feature in January, many were worried that the comprehensive search feature could dig up information on people’s profiles that they wished to remain private. With the feature’s official release yesterday, opinions and reviews of it are rolling in, and the consensus is that, for now, the search function isn’t as omnipotent as originally thought.
“Graph Search can help discover shared likes and connections, but at a more granular level, the search engine doesn’t go very deep,” wrote CNet’s Dan Farber. “For example, you can search for movies that your friends or a subset of friends like, but you can’t search for movies rated by your friends with a specific number of star recommendations or for movies your friends liked that are just released in theaters.”
However, as Farber goes on to point out, Facebook is expected to increase the amount of information that Graph Search can pull in, making it a more focused and refined search engine. No matter what, it’s going to be a big part of the website’s future; Facebook has not radically redefined its functionality like this since the inception of the scrolling News Feed in 2006. As Matt Buchanan wrote in The New Yorker, “Graph Search fundamentally alters the way that information comes to the surface; it turns every profile inside out, spilling its guts to tailored searches… Other than making their profiles completely private, there is no way for users to opt out of having their information available to Graph Search.”
We have been warning our readers for a while now about the privacy implications of Graph Search. Please see these related resources: