Introduced a couple of weeks ago, Facebook’s new Graph Search has prompted security experts to warn people about their social media usage. They are advising Facebook users to raise their privacy settings in order to avoid embarrassment or becoming victims of cyber criminals.
Security Risks of Facebook Graph Search
The social media giant is gradually rolling out the Facebook Graph Search to its users. It allows people to use naturally phrased search queries to receive personalized results. This enables people to get more useful information, while it provides a new selling and advertising venue for Facebook.
However, the new social media feature also brings in more opportunities for scammers, as well as potential embarrassment for users who are careless about their privacy settings.
Privacy Concerns and Inappropriate Searches
Tom Scott made a Tumblr post showing search queries with results that few to no people would want to be part of. This includes “married people who like prostitutes” and “current employers of people who like racism.”
He also showed how totalitarian governments could use the Facebook Search Graph to find dissidents or undesirables. Because of this, questions regarding user privacy were questioned. Although users can reset their profile’s privacy settings, user privacy in Graph Search is something that they cannot opt out.
Facebook and Users’ Shared Responsibility
On the other hand, Facebook said that their responsibility is to provide privacy settings, while users are responsible for using them. In an email statement sent to PC World, the social networking said, “You control who you share your interests and likes with on Facebook.”
Moreover, people trade their personal information for free use of the social media when joining Facebook. With that, security experts agree that people are responsible for controlling who sees their profile information. However, some of them believe that the social networking giant does not go far enough to educate their users about these issues. As Bogdon Botezatu of Bitdefender pointed out:
Some people do not grasp the importance of Graph Search. So maybe it would be better for Facebook to actually inform people that some things will change. The way they use to interact with Facebook changed and this could have consequences they haven’t thought about yet.
Because Facebook Graph Search makes all personal information searchable, educating their users on its danger and consequences should be a much bigger priority for the social network.