Facebook Graph Search: Stalking Made Easier

Jul 09, 2013

Tags: , ;

facebook graph searchRecently, we tried the talked-about new feature on Facebook called Graph Search.  Facebook is rolling out this feature to all English speakers this week.

Graph Search is Facebook’s answer to the personalized results you get from Google and Bing – just that it's more contextualized and with much more specific data about your social circle or friends and your friend's friends.

To conceptualize how Graph Search works, think of the bigger picture of relationships between friends, pages, photos, posts and groups as a vast web. Friends have a relationship to friends, pages and photos via likes and comments. And these pages, photos and groups have a relationship with each other.

In short, it's a powerful new search tool. I could search for "restaurants where my friends eat when in New York" to get some ideas for my next trip. Or I could search for friends who like a particular TV show in order to find people to watch it with.

But, because of what we do at Net Nanny, we proceeded to find examples of frightening consequences.

For example, using Graph Search, I requested to find "people who attend [name of local] junior high."  The results: a list of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at the local junior high.  With this type of data, it would only take a few more minutes to determine where each child lived.  A sexual predator could easily target kids in his neighborhood or town.

Facebook blocks minors you aren’t friends with from showing up in Graph Search results. That means that all of these teenagers lied about their ages, and Facebook thinks they’re over 18. They also set their profile settings to “Public,” meaning that anyone with a Facebook account can look at their profile.

The moral of the story: kids need to know not to allow "everyone" access on Facebook.  They need to know that people may not truly represent themselves as they are. Talk to your kids about the dangers of social media. If you’re worried about what your kids are up to on Facebook, look into Net Nanny Social. Net Nanny Social will track your child’s activities on Facebook and other common social media sites, and send you reports if anything suspicious happens.

I work for Net Nanny and all opinions are my own.