Home > business, marketing, social media > Could Facebook Graph Search Lead to Defriending?

Could Facebook Graph Search Lead to Defriending?

Facebook Open Graph name search

Facebook announced its Graph Search feature recently, and my first thought was “Good.” Anything should be better than Facebook’s previous search function.

Thinking it through

But then I let the implications of the Graph Search stew. And I came to realize that it’s a double-edged sword.

Of course you understand why it will be helpful and how it could affect brands, marketing and a host of other things.

But the flip side to it is that more people than just your Facebook friends will be mining your data when they use Graph Search.

Searching, searching …

Think on this: Are these the types of searches you want your data to be available for?

  • Friends of my friends who went to (my high school)
  • Friends of my friends who are married
  • Friends of my friends who are named “(name)”
  • Friends of my friends who use (name of application)

These are just a few test searches I performed to see what results I would get.

Built with privacy

Graph Search was built with privacy in mind in that users can search information only made public to them or information that was public.

You might not have cared what information you are sharing with certain people before because of Facebook’s EdgeRank, which showed less and less content of those friends you don’t interact with much.

So, essentially, those Facebook friends go out of sight, out of mind.

A defriending nation?

With Graph Search, though, they will see you and your data and data from your network if you remain friends with them on the network. And it will be available to them without them having to singularly search you out.

But do you want them to have that access?

Do you want to leave that data above to college friends you never talk to anymore? Do you want to leave that data available to people who were in your life for only a month?

An issue on the fringe

I’m not saying that there will be an onslaught of defriending as people realize the impact of Graph Search. I see this as affecting those connections that were tenuous at best, those connections that have been forgotten but not broken (at least in the defriending sense of the word).

You could, of course, choose to stay friends with those people and simply create a list to share content and information to and keep them out of it.

But it’s worth considering how and to whom you want your information searchable.

Feedback: Will you be defriending these types of Facebook “friends,” or will you continue your Facebook use unmodified?

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  1. January 28, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Yes! For god’s sake give me the tools to narrow down my network (or at least segment it).

    This is one of the best features of Google + — it keeps you honest (if you do it right) about who you’re publishing to, what content, and how often.

    Facebook has some truly great demographic data which Graph makes available — whether or not companies will use it for good or evil remains to be seen!

    • January 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      And Facebook has lists that you can put people in to to narrow down your network. It’s just that they’re not a widely known feature.

      And it’s not just companies that can mine this data. Anyone can.

  2. February 3, 2013 at 2:02 am

    I’m going to see how this plays out. Changes could be in the future for me.

    • February 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

      I think that’s a good attitude to have. Privacy hasn’t changed with this, but people should be aware of how their information will be available.

  3. April 4, 2013 at 2:07 am

    I just wish that there was an easy way to look up previous posts on a fan page without paging through endlessly. Great heads up on this Dan. 🙂

  1. April 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

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