Could Facebook Graph Search Lead to Defriending?
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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