Facebook Graph Search lets everyone know you like prostitutes

Facebook Graph Search has been released to a limited number of users, but the possible privacy implications have already sparked the imagination. Tom Scott is one of the lucky ones who already has access to Graph Search, and he made an Actual Facebook Graph Search tumblr to collect examples of what he has found with the tool. One of the Facebook Graph Search results he posted is for “married people who like prostitutes.”

Who would like prostitutes on Facebook?!

Stupid people. Either these are people with no filter who really want their Facebook profiles to reflect their interests no matter how deviant and most likely illegal (depending on location) those interests may be, or these are people who thought it would be funny to like prostitutes on Facebook as a joke. Employers, potential dates and other Facebook users may not care to find out which group you fall into.

Maybe for you it isn’t prostitutes. Maybe you like racism. Maybe you fall under mothers of Catholics from Italy who like Durex condoms or people who like (anti-gay group) Focus on the Family and (gay) Neil Patrick Harris or single women who live nearby and are interested in men and like Getting Drunk! Whatever you may have liked either ironically or seriously can now be used to profile you, so what should you do?

  1. Stop liking stupid shit on Facebook. Just stop.
  2. Review the stupid shit you’ve liked in the past and get rid of it. Click the link for “likes” under the cover photo on your profile page to see what you’ve liked and to unlike things appropriately.
  3. Review the privacy settings for who can see your likes. When you click the “likes” link on your profile page there will be a pencil icon in the upper right corner of the box. Click that to edit your settings. Set everything to Friends or an even smaller group. For example, if you must like prostitutes you may want to choose “Friends except [your mom]” out of respect. Facebook Graph Search will only return search results that follow user privacy settings, but remember that you are trusting the people you give access to not to share that information with anyone else.
Privacy Settings for Facebook Likes
Click “custom” to exclude people or groups from seeing what you’ve liked.

For more tips on reviewing privacy settings in anticipation of Facebook Graph Search see this post. For a few things that Facebook Graph Search will NOT do see this list.

If you don’t consider it a violation of rule #1 you can like the Listing Toward Forty Facebook page here . You can also avoid Facebook altogether and follow Kim Z. Dale on Twitter here and add me to a Google+ circle here.

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