With only a beta-testing release limited to select U.S. Facebook users, Graph Search has been under fire since it’s inception almost exactly one month ago. Some people believe that the intelligent network-search feature, which allows users to search for others using multiple specific keywords at once — like a person’s interests, location, relationship status, etc., can be intrusive and a major breach of privacy.
Naturally, regarding all of the dark corners and alleyways in our modern wild-west society know as the internet, a main concern has been raised for the children who use Facebook’s new graph search and the potential age-appropriate content exposed to them. Facebook wrote a blog post on Thursday, laying out some safety measures to prevent any unfortunate occurrences between underage Facebook users and the company’s next-level search feature.
Among a complete list that Facebook compiled of ‘safety tips for using Graph Search,’ which is found below, the company mentioned a few built-in measures aimed at preventing older people from finding youngsters through the new search function.
“As with all of our products, we designed Graph Search to take into account the unique needs of teens on Facebook,” stated the company’s safety team. They go on to say that content added by teens “can only be shared with a maximum of Friends of Friends.” And in addition, with searches that could help people identify someone by their age or location, these “results will only show to that person’s Friends, or Friends of Friends who are also between the age of 13 – 17.”
Also, my condolences for all you sex offenders out there — Facebook’s terms and conditions clearly states “You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.” Perhaps there are other social networks out there for that? I wouldn’t know.
Facebook’s list of safety precautions for using Graph Search:
As always, when sharing anything on Facebook, remember to use good judgment and share responsibly. Learn more about tools to help control what appears in search below:
• Manage Your Activity Log: Activity log makes it easy to see the things you’ve 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.
• Reporting: As always, do not hesitate to report any abusive content you see on Facebook in the report links throughout site.
You can see that there isn’t too much that Facebook can do or are there many safety measures that they can put in place to protect their underage users. But they are managing to figure out what they can do and it seems they’ve done what they can thus far. So we have to commend them as far as that goes.
Will there still be weirdos out there? Of course. Will bad things still happen through social media, in general? Yes, as they do everyday. But it is most important to see Facebook owning up to the facts and acknowledging that web-generated harm can and will happen. Let’s hope they just keep doing what they can on their end.