Facebook’s planned “graph search” feature, allowing users to search for real time information based on its association with other users, is pretty freakin’ cool.
For example, if I have a hankering for a quality slice of pizza? I simply type, “pizza places that my friends like” and… Voilà!
Using “likes” as a measure, we’ll be able to determine what restaurants our friends like, what movies friends of friends like and the most popular bar in a certain area. We will also be able to determine exactly which of our friends “like” Here Comes Honey Boo Boo… and quickly “unfriend” them.
Search results will be returned as photos. This is particularly helpful if you do a search for, “friends of friends who are single in my hometown.” You won’t need that Match.com membership anymore because you can simply ask your friend to hook you up with that “hot blonde” they work with. That’s right, Facebook’s graph search feature will make it easier to cruise for singles from the comfort of your home. I can’t help but wonder, however, if Facebook’s new search feature will make it easier for stalkers and pervs to get a little closer to the objects of their obsession.
Let’s say you go to a local coffee shop and the girl behind the counter tickles your fancy. Maybe you want to know more about her, but… you’re shy. Simply type, “people who work at Joe’s Coffee Shop,” and… Bam! There’s that blue-eyed cutie smiling back at you.
Sure, your interest in the barista may be genuinely innocent, but not everyone has your moral integrity.
Say you get into an argument with a guy over a parking space near that same coffee shop. The guy is pissed because you flipped him off. The guy goes home, searches for people who like Joe’s Coffee Shop, and finds your profile. Since you’re obsessed with “checking in” everywhere, it doesn’t take long for him to realize that you go to the gym three times a week, at precisely 4:30 p.m. The next thing you know, all four of your tires have been slashed.
Maybe I’m being dramatic, but these things CAN happen. In fact, you don’t need “graph search” to garner personal information about someone on Facebook or see them in a bikini (not that I would know), but the new feature is certainly going to make it easier.
We all have our own opinions about Facebook and I am SURE there will be some fear mongering over privacy as this new feature is rolled out, but every time I hear someone chanting about how evil Facebook is, I offer a simple solution… deactivate your account!
Look, Facebook provides us with a free service that we can voluntarily utilize. As an avid Facebook user, I’ve never expected ANYTHING from them. Why should I?
If you’re worried about creepy stalkers, don’t announce that you work at Joe’s Coffee Shop. If you don’t want your tires slashed, try and be nicer to people and don’t publish your daily schedule online. If you have a problem with someone “rubbing one out” to a picture of you in a bathing suit? Well, don’t post those pictures… unless you’re cool with that… because, trust me, people do that.
It comes down to personal responsibility. Whether we’re talking about Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, it is ultimately up to the user to control the flow of personal information.
So, get your privacy settings squared away now y’all, because as soon as graph search becomes universal?
The stalkers are gonna go a huntin’.