Internet Privacy And Facebook’s Graph Search

Facebook’s Graph Search was first announced a few months ago, but they were rolling it out in various stages.  I just got mine the other day, have you got yours yet?

When you log in the first time with the new search enabled, a little popup comes up next to it, asking if you want to take a tour.  I had already read a lot about it, and seen the Facebook Intro Video so I didn’t really care much for the tour.  I should be honest in that I do not use Facebook as much as I did in the past, and haven’t posted on my own wall/timeline in a while.  I use Facebook for work, some groups, and the private message functions.  I hardly ever scroll down my newsfeed, or even search for friends/places/things in the first place.

What caught my eye with the “tour” is that they pre-populate the search area with your name… oooh me!  And so I went and searched for “photos of Nicole” (which is already accessible via my timeline, but… whatever…), and I was in for a surprise!

When you use the “photos of you” button from your timeline, all the photos come up in chronological order, meaning that older albums are at the bottom, etc.  With the graph search, some of the first pictures I added on Facebook were coming up in the top results.  Not flattering to say the least, since most of my pictures are from high school and my first few years in University.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not removing pictures of myself (or content) just to please other people (read: potential employers or random Facebook searchers).  You don’t like that picture of me from five years ago at a party?  Well that’s too bad… too bad that you judge someone from really old photos.  Is that me now?  No… probably not… does that mean that I post photos like that nowadays, or am ashamed of anything I have done or put on Facebook before… no, definitely not!

There have been many studies suggesting that a large percentage of employers search a potential candidate online first.  I’ve made sure to limit my Facebook posts to “friends only” and I always think before I post on my other, more used, social media accounts (Twitter, Pinterest), since they are public.

I don’t swear at all, online or in real life; so limiting my use of bad language is easy-peasy.  The only images I upload nowadays are usually of food, or nail polish, or random other things, and hardly ever even have people in them.  (Actually, when I go on vacation, I am most often taking pictures of the scenery, and sometimes even forget to take pictures of myself in these foreign locations!)

I came across this online presence calculator and got an A+… yay!  Although, I have been updating all my social medias lately, and it’s pretty much my job to have a good online brand.
But back to the graph search!

Yes, there were some unflattering images, so I went through them all and simply un-tagged the ones I didn’t like.  It’s not a permanent solution, but I figure people don’t have the time to look through all my albums and photos, and if they do… well… that’s another story!

I also came across a Facebook post yesterday that one of my family members had written, something they had seen online and copied and pasted saying that the Facebook Graph Search is completely public, and there is no way of limiting your information.  If you come across anything like this, always take the content with a grain of salt.

I know that Facebook and the new Graph Search do help make your information a lot easier to find (rather than someone going to your personal timeline, then clicking through various tabs and navigation options), but ultimately you are the one to control your own privacy.  If you set all your posts and photos as “friends only”, then only your friends are the ones that are able to see that content… not the whole world.

Always review your information and even read through Facebook, and other social media’s policies and guidelines (if you so choose) to know what can and is being shared online.  If you don’t proactively protect your information, who else will?

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