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Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Angela Randall 29-01-2013

facebook graph searchEvery 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 – many people are a little concerned about what sorts of things will be found and by whom.


Thankfully, all it takes is a little understanding about how Facebook Graph Search works, then you can tweak your privacy settings accordingly. Today, we’ll go into a little detail about what exactly the Facebook Graph Search is and the sorts of things strangers may be able to find out about us. Then, we’ll make sure you have double-checked your privacy settings in anticipation of the full Graph Search roll-out.

What Is Facebook Graph Search?

Facebook Graph Search is a new way to search for information on Facebook, which uses natural language and finds results across a broad spectrum of things. For instance, Facebook suggests you might like to do a search for “People who like cycling and live in Seattle, Washington“. It’s also possible to do a similar search for “My Friends who like cycling and live in Seattle, Washington“. This would mean you could quickly find out which of your friends you should talk to in order to go cycling with them while you’re in Seattle.

facebook graph search

As you can see, Facebook graph search takes information about people’s Location, Liked Pages, Other Likes, Places, Photos, Education, Work, Hometown, Timeline and more. Also, because all of this information is protected by a variety of privacy settings, searches performed by different people will yield different results. This is due to the privacy settings of friends and strangers for each individual part of their profile. Only things that were previously available to a given person will be viewable via the Search Graph, however they may find that information more readily now.

Which Privacy Settings Are Likely To Create The Most Trouble?

Since it’s now easier to find information in the sea of data in Facebook, strangers and friends alike will now be able to find out information about you more easily. I personally recommend that all users check their privacy settings for their current location, hometown and tagging for places, as these could very quickly lead a person to your current physical location.


facebook privacy

The next most important thing to do is to review photos of yourself. On Facebook, there is also a little confusion with photo privacy. The privacy of any given photo is determined by the person who uploaded it. The privacy settings you set for photos you are tagged in will determine who else may see the photo, but they can’t stop someone who already could view the photo from seeing it.

For instance, if your cousin uploads photos of you and makes them visible to all of their Facebook friends, all of those Facebook friends will be able to see the photo despite your privacy settings. Even if you have set your privacy to ensure your grandparents can’t see photos you are tagged in, they will still be able to see your cousin’s photos if your cousin is friends with them on Facebook.

You can remove the tag, although it will do little to help you in this circumstance. The best thing to do would be to ask your friends to set stricter privacy settings on the photos you appear in or to remove the photos altogether.


facebook privacy

Also important are the settings for your work and education, previous posts and activity. Check your activity log to see what is viewable and make changes as you like (go to ).

facebook privacy

Review your Likes and remove or change the settings for anything that you don’t want people to see. Pages you have liked were changed to public by default a while back, but they can now be made less public. So, it’s vital that you change the privacy settings or Unlike anything that you’d prefer to stay private. Since many people have been Liking activities, TV shows, movies and music since long before they all went public, this is important.


To edit your settings for Likes, go to your timeline and click on “Likes“, then “Edit“. Each category of Likes has a different privacy setting, so you can fine-tune it as you wish. Ensure you remember to click on “Done Editing” when you are finished in order to save your settings.

facebook graph privacy

Also note that minors have certain settings locked to a maximum exposure of friends or friends of friends (who are also minors).

How Do I Fix & Check My Privacy Settings?

Facebook has a new privacy navigation menu, which is accessible via the little padlock icon in the top-right of any page on Facebook. The menu makes it easy to check your privacy settings, to access the activity log and to access the full privacy menu. This also allows you to quickly view your timeline as another person to verify what they can see.


facebook graph privacy

As you saw above for the privacy settings of “Likes“, it is now possible to edit the settings of many other items on your Timeline The Top 5 Privacy Tips For Facebook Timeline Applications If you're a Facebook user, you've probably recently started to use the Facebook timeline on your user page. You've probably also noticed changes such as the ticker feed and new behaviours of open graph applications... Read More in the same way. It’s worth checking each section of your Timeline and ensuring things are as private as you expect How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline While the new Facebook timeline looks fantastic, there are a few privacy concerns worth keeping in mind. For most people, certain things will need adjusting before you can be completely sure that your posts aren't... Read More , particularly the “About” section and the “Friends” section.

facebook graph privacy

Don’t forget that privacy settings can be dictated using custom-made friends lists. It’s therefore well worth setting up some friends lists Using Facebook Friends Lists For Interests Or Circles [Facebook Hack Or Tip Of The Week] Is Facebook driving you crazy? Most people who use Facebook generally view the home feed in its unfiltered form, which means they're seeing updates from friends, acquaintances and pages all lumped in together and shown... Read More to help you manage your privacy How To Hide Your Personal Information On Facebook In the age of the Internet, privacy is a luxury and you have to constantly be on your heels to maintain it. Facebook makes it particularly hard for users to guard their personal data. Despite... Read More .

What Else Should I Know?

Facebook have written their own guide to Facebook Privacy and the Graph Search and it is well worth taking a look. In particular, it will demonstrate the sorts of photos which can be found via Graph Search that are not viewable on your timeline. These are the ones you should be reviewing and discussing with the person who uploaded them.

facebook graph search

Have you checked your privacy settings for Facebook Graph Search yet? Were you surprised to find some things were more public than you had hoped?

Related topics: Facebook, Online Privacy.

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  1. Anonymous
    February 22, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I'm updating my privacy settings right now. This is very creepy as well as the poles being gone forever in 20 - 30 years and will never be seen again.

  2. Elizabeth
    February 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Fapbook won't stop adjusting its privacy settings until that pedo-creep Zuckypants has a live webcam feed in everyone's toilet. The world's largest "Revenge of the Nerds" Panty Raid won't get any business from this girl, that's for sure.

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      Heh, so true!

  3. Adinamo Alex
    February 3, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    so hard to keep them out

  4. gamewizard71
    February 3, 2013 at 3:13 am

    why are you people so afraid???? The only people worried about privacy are people who are doing something bad... it doesnt really matter because with a simple email an ip check i can find out where you are

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 3, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      There are some things people would just prefer to keep to themselves. For instance, I don't think that the things people do in the bedroom are in any way "bad", but I don't know many people keen to stick a webcam in the corner of the room and let the world watch.

      • Elizabeth
        February 6, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Just because you don't know them doesn't mean there aren't that many. After all, per the wisdom of "Avenue Q," the Internet is for... you know.

        • Angela Alcorn
          February 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm

          Well put!

  5. Andy Liu
    February 1, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I simply don't find this new search function useful at all. Unless you wanted to stalk someone..

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      It's really good for marketers and journalists, so you can guess who'll be using it the most.

  6. Paul Sitton
    January 31, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I find all the massive data to get up and running a little confusing. Would like to see a simpler way for this effort.

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 3, 2013 at 3:12 pm

      So would lots of people!

  7. Dhivik
    January 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I quit FACEBOOK. Whats the point of privacy settings till date.

  8. Tom Vivet
    January 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Its getting harder each day to protect our privacy in fb.
    i wonder when people get sick of it and stop using it.

  9. Ashraf Mohamed
    January 30, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    That's very concerned privacy it's important to protect be FB.

  10. Scott Macmillan
    January 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I won't surrender my privacy to this site.I'll be using it less and less.Thanks forthe info and tips.

  11. Jeremy Garnett
    January 30, 2013 at 4:14 am

    Actually the search function looks really useful. I wonder if we should get with the times and surrender our privacy.

  12. SaapeXD MoHods
    January 30, 2013 at 2:54 am

    IS there a way to delete all check-ins u did in FB in One go? XD (Also the places that friends checked u into )

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Not that I know of, but I think you can change the privacy all in one hit. You could make them all set to "only me". That could be a temporary solution.

      • Elizabeth
        February 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm

        "Only me" means two people, you and Zuck. Three if you count the Borg Advertising Collective he shares everything with. Creep.

        • Vasilis Spilka
          February 25, 2013 at 4:43 pm

          Yea becouse Zuck has nothing more important to do than creep and look on other peoples photos and check ins...