How to find single women who like men *and* like getting drunk, with Facebook Graph Search

Filed Under: Facebook, Privacy

Earlier this month, Facebook announced an upcoming new feature that would help users explore the social network in a "whole new way".

Currently in limited beta, Facebook Graph Search, provides Facebook users with an easier way to find the information you have shared on the social network.

Facebook Graph Search

Alarm bells rang in the heads of the privacy-conscious, disturbed that Facebook Graph Search might dredge up data about yourself that you once posted (and have forgotten about) or how the system could be used to cross-relate different pieces of information about you with potentially uncomfortable or unpleasant results.

A new blog called Actual Facebook Graph Searches highlights the potential problem very clearly.

For instance, here are married people who like prostitutes:

Married men who like prostitutes

Charming. I wonder what their partners think?

Perhaps more sinisterly, here are Chinese people who like the banned Falun Gong sect:

Chinese who like Falun Gong

And, if you're wondering who to invite down the pub on a Friday night, here are single women who are interested in men, and even more interested in getting drunk:

Single women, interested in men, who like getting drunk

What a time saver Facebook Graph Search can be! I guess it's cheaper than online dating..

These are just some of the examples shown on the Actual Facebook Graph Searches blog, but no doubt you can dream up your own.

In fairness, Facebook does remind users of the importance of using its privacy settings, and explains how to configure them.

It's the responsibility of each Facebook user to be mindful of what information they share on the social network - and realise that they can't shirk off the part they played in publishing the information in the first place.

This information was always there on Facebook, it's just that Graph Search makes it easier to extract and join the dots than ever before.

Maybe it would be wise if everyone double-checked their Facebook account, their past posts and Likes, and remove anything which they feel might be unwise to share once Facebook Graph Search is unleashed more widely.

If you can't configure your privacy settings properly, or keep being duped into Liking things you didn't really mean to, then maybe it would be best if you dedicated some time to learning the lessons of how to run your social networking account more safely and initiated a thorough clean-up.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest security and privacy news on Facebook, you should join the Naked Security from Sophos Facebook page, where over 200,000 members exchange information about the latest threats.

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8 Responses to How to find single women who like men *and* like getting drunk, with Facebook Graph Search

  1. scorpio66 · 580 days ago

    While I agree somewhat that we're all in charge of our Facebook profiles, I disagree with the principal for the young adults and those users who are not internet savvy (which may make up the majority of FB users...)

    Aren't these the demographics who get victimized by Facebook's ridiculous practices the most?

    And anyone who has lost precious minutes of their lives wading through the Facebook Privacy swamp only to wind up more confused and frustrated than when they first clicked the Help button, knows what I'm about to say;

    Facebook wants us to reveal everything. Facebook's entire engine is built around a stalker-mentality.

    What concerns Facebook is not our user-privacy concerns but all the lawsuits they get hit with regularly.

    They'll say anything supporting user-privacy but then turn around with another stalker-friendly app like this Search feature.

    Facebook talks out of both sides of its mouth with Sociopathic ease.

  2. Freida Gray · 580 days ago

    What about all of the Facebook "likes" that you never knew you had until a friend asked you about them?Will they show up in Graph Search?

  3. Nigel · 580 days ago

    "If you can't configure your privacy settings properly, or keep being duped into Liking things you didn't really mean to, then maybe it would be best if you..."

    ...dumped Facebook altogether, would be one option. The fact that such an option has become unthinkable to some people is the reason why Facebook is a scourge that likely will never go away.

    Given the unlikelihood of that addiction's ever being broken for so many millions of users, I suppose the next best thing is to counsel people about "learning the lessons of how to run your social networking account more safely". But the truth is that the kind of social networking to which Facebook has successfully addicted its users is inherently antagonistic to privacy and safety. It's set up that way, on purpose.

    The reality about Facebook that is too seldom spoken is that it is NOT free. The cost is its users' privacy. I don't know whether most users don't care or don't know. But either way, the price of using Facebook is still the same. In fact, Facebook has proven--consistently, reliably, and predictably--that it will always find new ways of extracting a bigger and bigger price.

    If that were not the case, Facebook would make all its features opt-in, rather than opt-out. They will never do that. Privacy is anathema to Facebook.

  4. Paul · 579 days ago

    Facebook executives and the company should be held responsible for any and all cirminal activity in which it plays a role. We need to update our laws now that corporations are the same as humans. If they do something for which a human can be sent to prison, then the executives who make the decisions should face jail time and financial responsiblity for aiding and abetting criminal acts.

  5. I'm starting to think that deleting FB and then starting it again should become a regular thing, maybe every 6 months, as it seems not having it excludes people from things (often clubs etc use it for member info)

  6. Mark · 577 days ago

    My own personal policy has always been to never post, like, or brag about anything I didn't want the whole world to know. If you can't say it to your mother or children, then just leave it off. I'm not a lawyer (although I play one in bars), but the first rule of law is- never commit it to writing. It's still OK to say it over the phone, but that too may go the way of Facespace.

  7. Andrew · 397 days ago

    interesting comments from my fellow members!
    Facebook privacy is an imagination in Facebook's head and considering the NSA gather so much information via Facebook , it is very worrying what the NSA have collected.

    suggestion: Don't have a Facebook account.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.