Still in beta testing, Facebook Graph Search lets you comb through the social network’s content using highly specific filters, and a Tumblr called “Actual Facebook Graph Searches” is making headlines for showcasing how easily the feature can expose people’s stupid, offensive, and hypocritical behavior. And that’s putting it lightly.
One example: the Tumblr features a screenshot of a search for married people who ‘Liked’ prostitutes. Over 100 results turned up, offering up additional information about these users, like who their spouses are, their photos, and where they work.
Graph Search respects your privacy settings, so people who severely limit the information they share likely won’t be affected. Those who publicly list themselves as both married and appreciating prostitutes, however, may want to alter their privacy settings so they aren’t as easily searchable.
Creator Tom Scott says the search even works if you get specific: “I had a ridiculous request, about twenty words long and including age, gender, relationship status, likes and family members. To Facebook’s credit — sort of — it worked!”
Since what you’ve chosen to list as private will remain so, this new feature is a lot less disturbing than the Storify extension on Facebook, which is problematic because it lets people spread privately posted information to a wider audience than a post’s author intended.
People often click ‘Like’ thinking nobody will scour their profile to see all of the things they’ve affiliated themselves with – jokingly or not. People “Like” hundreds of things a year, sometimes a friend’s band or a new neighborhood restaurant, sometimes a goofy phrase their friends also ‘Liked.’ Now, this feature can pull things up you ‘Liked’ in 2008 and forgot about. Anybody else a little afraid of the “Liking” rampages they went on during college? All you now-struggling post-grads out there looking for professional careers who went through a stoner phase might want to do a little “Like” editing. Hoping to pursue politics? Get busy cleaning up your “Likes.”
What’s a carefree Facebooker to do? Before the Graph Search goes live for all users, you can ensure you won’t end up on goofy Tumblr accounts by using Facewash, a service that scrubs your profile free of unprofessional quirks.