Facebook announced that Graph Search will be rolling out over the next few weeks to everyone who uses Facebook in U.S. English. The feature is a sophisticated search engine within Facebook which makes it easier to find specific photos and text or information from friends’ profiles and posts, and provides “a new way to find people, photos, places and interests on Facebook.”
Now finding a friend’s memorable status should be quick work without any soul-crushing clicking and scrolling and sifting, and searching in the new toolbar will make it easy to find 2nd-degree connections with mutual interests, if you make unique queries like “People who like extreme ironing in Los Angeles.” (Finally!)
Why Is Facebook Doing It?
You probably know already: Advertising! Building connections between the incredible amounts of data on Facebook is no small feat, so it must have been work done with shareholders and revenue in mind. By making such data searchable for Facebook users, Facebook has also made this data accessible for advertisers, who will be able to reach demographics more niche than ever before. Imagine it: Instead of targeting users based only on their ‘likes’, they’ll be targeting users based on the content of their statuses and posts, the content of their closest friends’ statuses and posts, the search queries they make, etc., etc. Graph Search will make a lot more public data available for advertising algorithms and marketers.
How Should You Use It?
Because Graph Search can be used with such a high degree of granularity (e.g.: “Single women in Colorado who are of age 25 and like scuba diving”, if you want to make it kinda creepy), it becomes a valuable tool for business owners and Page managers. If you have a specific service or product, there will be no hassle in finding your first group of potential fans. Opening a gluten-free cupcake shop in Tallahassee? Well, find out who likes gluten-free cupcakes in Tallahassee and let them know about your business! After you’ve built up an audience, you can create some Facebook advertisements and hopefully receive a better return on your investment than in the past, thanks to those aforementioned algorithms.
Wait…..So Is Everything I Write Public?
A key to Graph Search’s efficacy is the amount of public data that users have on their profiles, and the key to how much data users keep public may be how little users know is public by default. There are probably a lot of people out there who don’t want their name appearing as a search result, but they might not know how findable they really are.
Just two weeks ago, a mobile developer in Dallas exploited Graph Search to compile a database of thousands of Facebook users and their cell phone numbers, scraping only the public information associated with their accounts. (Is that “Single women” search creepier now?)
Things could get messy if employers are able to find job candidates’ profiles using only their phone numbers (as the Dallas developer posits), or if high school pranksters can find a user’s number after searching through their profile data. It’s important to go through your own information and guard any information you’d like to keep to yourself, because a lot of data will be public until you change your settings.
Questions? Hit us up at www.socialincite.com.au
Social Incite Team