Well what do we have here? This was mentioned to my Advanced Online Media class last Friday and I’ve been meaning to look into it ever since. Now I probably should mention that, in the words of my flatmate Miri, I have ‘a vendetta again Facebook’. This is partially true, I am not Facebook’s biggest fan, but am I exaggerating when I say this is just taking the Facebook Stalk to a whole new echelon?
Graph Search was released by Zuckerberg last week, as what some say is Facebook’s very own version of Google, although Zuckerberg denies any links between the two. It essentially allows you to see the likes, pages, groups and photos of strangers, people in your city, town, university, or more specifically any particular Facebook Friend who’s biography you wish to delve into. It is currently available ‘in a very limited beta programme for English (US) audiences’ (source; Facebook), and I vote it stays there.
In theory you could argue that Facebook is just trying to continue its mission to make the world more connected, based on shared interests, and making friends’ histories more easily accessible. Of course this was always do-able, but it has now been made 10x easier to find out everything about your Facebook Friends, as well as see photos of them as a pre pubescent teenager (see picture below). This is exemplified in a very cheesy video on the Facebook Graph Page that I consequently had to turn off after 50 seconds.
Tech sites across the US have labelled Graph Search as ‘Humourless, Creepy and Doomed to Disappoint’ (tech crunch.com), showing you ‘Married people who like Prostitutes’ and ‘Employers of people who like racism’ (Forbes) and there is also Tom Scott’s viral Tumblr, ‘Actual Facebook Graph Search’ where I particularly liked his bio of: ‘don’t worry, we’ll all be used to this in a few weeks time’. Too true.
In the UK, the Guardian today featured Graph Search in relation to Facebook’s increasing privacy concerns, which is a key argument amongst anyone who isn’t naive enough to not be aware of how much our information is shared and collated through Facebook.
UK readers, I’m really interested to hear what you think about this, if you have or haven’t heard about it already? My advice would be, update your privacy settings in the next few weeks, go through your ‘likes’ and groups that you might have ironically joined between the ages of 13-17, and delete any embarrassing old photo’s that you don’t want people to be laughing at secretly when this inevitably hits the UK in a few months.
(All views are my own)