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Is Facebook Graph Search Bypassing Privacy Settings?

Updated on March 3, 2014
Will Facebook Graph Search Let Strangers See My Personal Updates?
Will Facebook Graph Search Let Strangers See My Personal Updates?

The recent roll out of Facebook Graph Search has sent Facebook users into a panic about their privacy settings.

The biggest fear is that this new feature will mean that strangers can see personal updates, images and private information.

As a result a number of status updates are being seen on Facebook by worried people asking their friends to make adjustments to their settings to ensure privacy is maintained.

What Is Facebook Graph Search?

Facebook has recently begun to roll out a new feature called Graph Search.

Think of it like a search engine that uses Facebook data. The premise is that it promises to personalize search results for people, places and things within your own Facebook network, based on your own preferences. All of your search results presented to you will be completely unique and personalized based on your network of friends.

It allows you to seek out responses to more personalized questions such as “Who loves eating chocolate?” and you will be presented with a list of results, including people, who have indicated that they love chocolate. Provided that their information is public!

Graph Search also allows you to expand your Facebook network by seeking out friends of friends who have similar interests to you and who like the things that you like.

At the moment it is still in testing phase (beta) and therefore it is being rolled out very slowly to the millions of Facebook users worldwide.

Examples Of The Current Facebook Hoax Regarding Facebook Graph Search

"....Facebook has changed their privacy settings....due to the new "Graph App" anyone on Facebook (including other countries) can see your pictures, likes, and comments....

It then goes on to say

"...those who do not keep my information from going out to the public, I will have to DELETE YOU! I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you....PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “LIFE EVENTS” and “COMMENTS & LIKES”....I will do the same……

This Is A Hoax – Facebook Has Not Changed Their Privacy Settings

The message being sent around Facebook looks similar to the one shown here. This is not real. This is completely incorrect information.

If you have posted this message yourself, do not worry. It is easy to see news like this and panic and share it without thinking or knowing the full facts.

Facebook Graph Search will not let strangers see your personal updates, photos and private information as long as you do not have your settings set to public!

With your privacy settings on public, strangers can see your private updates now, today, even without Graph Search.

We know this for a fact based on a similar recent scare relating to the presence of baby photos appearing on community pages.

Recent Facebook Hoax - Facebook Graph Search Privacy Settings.
Recent Facebook Hoax - Facebook Graph Search Privacy Settings.

Can I opt out of Facebook Graph Search?

No. As with all Facebook changes and roll-outs, such as timeline changes and profile amendments, once they are live and active you cannot opt out.

What things of mine will my friends be able to search for?

Essentially anything and everything that you have made public, may be shown in a search result. Page likes, photos, check-ins and status updates. Remember, only things that are set to public!

Facebook Graph Search takes into your account privacy settings so only the information that you have personally chosen to share will be indexed.

The ability for your content to be seen all depends entirely on which audience you choose. For example, if photo is set to:

  • Only Me = no one can find it in search

  • Friends = only your friends will see it in their search results

  • Public = anyone who searches for it can find it

Essential Facebook Privacy Settings

To ensure your personal data is kept private, there are a few things you should highly consider setting up.

  • Change Your Privacy Settings to ‘Friends Only’
  1. Click onto the little circle (or wheel) located in the top right hand corner of any Facebook page.
  2. Select ‘Privacy Settings’
  3. On the right hand side you will see a section called ‘Who can see my stuff’. Edit this to ensure that ‘Friends’ is the chosen option for who can see your future posts.

For a full walk through of all your privacy settings, take the time to read all the nuts and bolts here.

Remember, the only way to keep yourself 100% private is to keep away from the internet all together; but having said that you can maintain a safe, secure presence on most of the available social media platforms like Facebook as long as you make the effort to keep your settings strict and check them regularly.

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    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is very good information. I knew they had changed again, and I need to change some more of my settings. I think I will delete some family pictures also. I appreciate the update!

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