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Will Facebook’s Graph Search Raise Concerns About Young Users?


facebook-icon 1Facebook’s Graph Search is rolling out slowly around the US and as it does it looks like Facebook wants to get ahead of any privacy concerns especially as it relates to young users which it defines as between the ages of 13-17.

A post from Facebook Safety yesterday tells us

As with all of our products, we designed Graph Search to take into account the unique needs of teens on Facebook. On Facebook, many things teens are likely to do – such as adding information to their timelines or sharing status updates – can only be shared with a maximum of Friends of Friends. In addition, for certain searches that could help to identify a young person by age or by their location, results will only show to that person’s Friends, or Friends of Friends who are also between the age of 13-17.

That’s very nice PR language for sure. The “As with all our products ……” almost sounds funny coming from the company that has traditionally used the “Ask for forgiveness and not permission” approach to privacy matters. Maybe being a public company has something to do with it but don’t you kind of miss the company that was outwardly and unashamedly hostile to your privacy?

The post offers some tips for teen users or, even better, those monitoring them.

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.

Not sure how this information was disseminated because it would be most useful if Facebook promoted it. Heck, maybe they could even buy a few ads from themselves to let young users in on this information, especially those who may not be reading posts from the Facebook Safety team which I will predict (with no real data and absolutely no scientific methodology) is about 99.99% of the teens using Facebook.

Well, at least they have said something, right?