Los Angeles -- Barely a month after announcing the release of its much touted Graph Search feature with much fanfare, and now in an effort to mollify privacy fears, the social network giant Facebook over the weekend announced in a blog post that it is introducing specific preventative measures to make sure parents do not get up in arms about their children's privacy when Graph Search is rolled out to the public.
Ever since it was launched, there have been many murmurs of the security issues and privacy glitches on the new Graph Search. But now, in order to better protect its users, Facebook said that certain searches made on its network that could help to identify a young person by age or by their location, would be hidden from its younger users.
In fact, these rules firmly dictate that if an adult does a search that could display a minor's location or age, then the Graph Search results will only be displayed to that person's Friends, or Friends of Friends who are also between the age of 13-17. Even basic details like birth-date, location, school, hometown will be visible only to a select group of minors in the below 18 persons friend list.
“What we really wanted to do was try to identify things that could be even more sensitive for minors -- that would identify them by their age and location,” Nicky Jackson Colaco, Facebook's manager of Privacy & Safety, informed CNN. “Those kind of things are more sensitive and we wanted to really make sure they had an even more restrictive experience.”
Surprisingly though, as with anything that Facebook does, privacy is clearly the issue here. Besides, considered as the social network's search tool, it offers users a novel ways to uncover people, places, photos, and interests that have been buried alive inside the social network. However, it also exposes a huge amount of personal data that members may not realize is available for public scrutiny.
In addition, by bringing together all data under one roof, it might get a little overwhelming and a field day for prowlers. For Eg: It would become very easy for a person to hunt all the ex-employees of a particular company and misuse the data. Or hunt the students of a particular school class.
Although it might not seem like a big thing right now, especially since Graph Search has not been released to its entire user base, but for those that do have access, this could present an interesting dilemma for people. However, in order to prevent such a scenario, Facebook has decided to take an advanced security measure. Especially for minors.
However, with the issue causing lots of uproar in tech circles, since then, the company has been working to quell users' privacy fears over Graph Search. It has answered questions and offered insight on how users can control their audience by adjusting their “likes,” managing who can see friend and family lists, and how to review tagged photos.
In the blog post, Facebook added a couple of other ways to control what will be shared on Graph Search:
Manage Your Activity Log: Activity log makes it easy to see the things you have posted on Facebook, make changes to the audience of past photos and other posts, and choose what appears on your Timeline. We recently announced some new tools that make it easier to take action on multiple photos, such as untagging them, or requesting that they are removed with one click. If you are ever concerned who can see content you have posted or shared on Facebook, review it on your Activity Log.
Review About Me: In addition to your Activity Log, review the 'About' tab to check any basic info you have shared with others on your profile, such as your current city, your workplace, Pages you like, or your education. The same people who can see this info on your profile can search for this info about you. Check this section to make sure you are comfortable with the audience you have chosen to share this information with.
Facebook's Graph Search is currently available to a small number of users but should roll out to the general public later this year.