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Don’t Get Suckered by the Facebook Graphic App Hoax [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Angela Randall 30-07-2013

Remember the mass scare on Facebook The Truth Behind Those "I Want To Stay Connected To You PRIVATELY" Updates [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook have on several occasions made big changes which made information more public than it had been previously. Users are now generally a little cautious and distrustful of Facebook's settings, which leads them to believe... Read More a while back where almost everyone changed their status to “I want to stay connected to you PRIVATELY, but you need to uncheck this that and the other”? It has come around again, but this time it’s a meme about Facebook’s “Graphic App”. And guess what? It’s yet another completely pointless pile of rubbish tips that won’t protect anyone from anything. The first giveaway is in the supposed “Graphic App”, which doesn’t actually exist. From there on it just gets more and more silly.


The “Graphic App” Update Spiel

Here’s what it says:

Hello to all of you who are on my list of contacts of Facebook. I would like to ask a favour of you. You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following and comment “DONE”. Those of my friends who do not maintain my information in private will be eliminated from my list of friends, because I want the information I share with you, my friends, to remain among my friends and not be available to the whole world. I want to be able to publish photos of my friends and family without strangers being able to see them which is what happens now when you choose “like” or “comment”. Unfortunately we cannot change this configuration because Facebook has made it like this. So, please, place your cursor over my photo that appears in this box (without clicking) and a window will open. Now move the cursor to the word “Friends”, again without clicking and then on “Settings”. Uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. This way my activity with my family and friends will no longer be made public. Now, copy and paste this text on your own wall (do not “share” it!). Once I see it published on your page, I will un-check the same for you. Thanks so much!

Debunking The Spiel

Yes, this is a hoax — another Facebook Myth Lies, Lies, And Status Updates: 4 Facebook Myths You Shouldn't Believe Why are myths started? At least one definition of myth is "any invented story, idea, or concept." So why do such stories get invented? How do so many situations arise where people feel the need... Read More . It may have been started with good intentions, but in reality it just makes people think that they’re safe when they aren’t. That, and it makes friends jump through a bunch of useless hoops to supposedly protect a friend and maintain their friendship. Let’s walk you through what’s actually going on here.

There is no such thing as the “Graphic App”. They most likely mean to refer to Facebook Graph Search Cool Things To Search For With Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Graph Search recently made a huge splash on the search scene, allowing all Facebook users to mine data that is either public or visible to them via their friends. The result is that regular... Read More , which has recently been opened up to everyone using the US dictionary. Graph Search makes it easy to search for things that are available for you to view on Facebook. For instance, you could search for “Photos of my friends liked by my friends” in order to view a good collection of the best photos of your friends. This may involve viewing photos uploaded by people you don’t know, but only if that person’s privacy settings allow it.

What Are You Actually Doing By Following These Steps?

The spiel tells you to hover over their photo, then hover over “Friends” and “Settings”, then uncheck “Life Events” and “Comments and Like”. These settings are actually used to change what you see from said friend. So, if I follow these instructions, I will no longer see “Comments and Likes” or “Life Events” from this friend. I’ll still see the other things they post, but I’ve essentially told Facebook that I don’t want to see those particular things from this person. This is what you should do if you are sick of seeing your friend posting about their new job, adding dozens of “Me too” comments or liking everything they see. And yes, you do see these things if you’re watching the ticker feed.

Don't Get Suckered by the Facebook Graphic App Hoax [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Graphic App Hoax2


What Are These People Trying To Stop, Exactly?

What these instructions don’t do is what they claim to do. These instructions will not stop strangers from seeing the things your friend shared that their friends liked. To be a little less confusing, consider the following scenario:

Fred is worried about his Facebook privacy, as he heard that strangers might be able to see his life events, comments and likes. If Fred hasn’t locked down his privacy settings and isn’t careful about where he comments and what he likes, this may be true. If Fred comments on or likes a public update by Bill, the comment or like may be seen by anyone who has liked Bill’s update, commented on Bill’s update or is friends with Bill. They may see this in their ticker feed, on their home page, on Bill’s Timeline or in the results of a search. Fred should protect his privacy by refraining from commenting on or liking public posts.

Instead, Fred re-posts this fancy spiel about the “Graphic App” and hopes that all his friends follow the instructions, then mumbles to himself about Facebook wanting to expose all of his private data. He hopes he won’t have to un-friend all of his friends in two weeks when he finds they haven’t followed these instructions.

Don't Get Suckered by the Facebook Graphic App Hoax [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Graphic App Hoax Hover


What Should You Do Instead?

For starters, lock down your profile to be “Friends-only” using Facebook’s privacy settings Make Sure You're Secure With Facebook's New Privacy Settings: A Complete Guide Facebook also means two other things: frequent changes and privacy concerns. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Facebook, is that they’re not really concerned about what we like or our privacy. Nor should they... Read More . You can even change all your old posts to follow suit if you like. This step is as much for your privacy as it is for your friends’ (as you’ll see in the next step).

Next, talk to your friends about privacy settings and see if you can convince them to limit their profiles to “Friends-Only”. If they do this, this means that when you comment or like something of theirs it will be viewable to only your friends and their friends.

Don't Get Suckered by the Facebook Graphic App Hoax [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Graph Search Images

Read more about Facebook Graph Search Cool Things To Search For With Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Graph Search recently made a huge splash on the search scene, allowing all Facebook users to mine data that is either public or visible to them via their friends. The result is that regular... Read More and the best Graph Search privacy tips Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Every time Facebook releases a new feature to learn more about our friends, many people realise that their privacy settings are not adequate anymore. Their latest new feature, Facebook Graph Search, is no exception -... Read More you can make use of. In particular, untag yourself from public photos or photos you don’t like. Check your timeline to see what things you’ve liked in the past and how public those likes are. Everything can be adjusted.


Finally, don’t like or post comments on public updates if you have a problem with people seeing that you’ve done this. Check before you comment on or like something. A public post will have an image of a globe on it. But keep in mind that even friends-locked posts can be made public later if the poster changes their settings. Always be prepared for these things to become more public down the track.

Have you seen a lot of these “Graphic App” updates? Were you tempted to re-post it?

Related topics: Facebook, Online Privacy.

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  1. Dan
    October 13, 2013 at 5:07 am

    First off I have my security settings to "Friends only". Have you heard of six degrees of separation? Because it applies directly since the "Graph App" was installed by FB.

    Have you noticed for the last month that everything you like is shown to EVERYONE and ANYONE that is friends of friends of friends? This makes everything you click "like" on or "comment" on open to the public. When I signed up for Facebook this was not the case. I do not want people I don't know seeing my children or where I live. This new facebook app, is a new facebook policy and is very unsecure. I may stop using facebook for it's "timeline" as I have in the past.

    The quick way to see this is true is on the "Home" page of FB, where you see all the "comments" and "likes", you'll now see comments or even get comments on your stuff from people NOT in your friends list, but in the friends list of someone far removed.

    So any article saying this is not true has never heard of the 6 degrees of separation? It applies directly here.

    Let's say that one of your friends friends is very liberal with who they let in their facebook page, or even open their page completely. Someone who steels identity etc., now is much closer to you than before. You have no way of knowing who is viewing what that you like or comment on in FB, that is a fact. So if you follow those "bogus" instructions, you can help secure this a bit more, but over all, it won't do much. Facebook needs to amend this back to the way it was.

    • Anonymous
      October 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

      If your so worried just delete your fb account. It's funny how you can complain about something your on when all it takes is a few clicks and you can be as private as you want .

      Personally I don't care who sees my Facebook posts. The likelihood of anything happening to me as a result of my privacy settings is ridiculously small and people think its bigger because of basically the media and the hype around privacy.

      But if I was worried then I'd delete Facebook. Simple

  2. Pat
    October 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Sadly I fell suckered by this post and appreciate your informative article on the subject. I will pass it on, thanks again

  3. Jeff
    October 11, 2013 at 1:06 am

    This one has been rearing its ugly head again recently. And it seems that when I tell those who post it that it's a hoax, they either ignore me or say they are going to do it anyway. There's no common sense any more.

  4. Lynn
    October 10, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    Umm, Angela, I know this is a stupid question, but, I don't see a link here to post this article to facebook , which I really want to do before my friends un-friend me. Help please.
    Thank you!

    • Jeff
      October 11, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Lynn, just copy the address in your browser's address bar and paste that into a post on Facebook.

    • Angela A
      October 26, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Sorry, what Jeff said. You just copy the link and share it on Facebook that way. Or, you can click the "Like" button floating over to the left. It will then give you the option to add a comment and share it.

  5. dragonmouth
    July 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    To the dozen or two people in the world who are still not part of the Facebook Universe, the above sounds like complete mumbo jumbo hocus pocus. Is this how lemmings convince themselves to jump into the water?

    • Angela Alcorn
      August 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Something like that!

  6. James
    July 31, 2013 at 12:45 am

    One of these days someone is going to create one of these hoaxes that results in the unwise people who follow the instructions to permanently ban themselves from Facebook.

    • Daniel E
      July 31, 2013 at 8:12 am

      When that happens, the quality of posts on FB may increase :)

    • Angela Alcorn
      July 31, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Heh, they might try. I don't think the meme will spread very easily somehow. :)