Graph Search is a red-hot topic which has got a lot of people very hot under the collar. In just a few days since its launch there’s been rapid and widespread concern for personal privacy and calls for people to act quickly to protect their Facebook profiles from Graph Search so they cannot be unwittingly exposed in the search results.
The funny thing (if the viral smash that is Actual Facebook Graph Searches isn’t fun enough) is that all the data people are now allegedly clamouring to protect was already put out there in the public domain by them – voluntarily and willingly! The only change that Graph Search brings about is the way this information can be surfaced in a variety of new and potentially exciting scenarios previously unimaginable. But it’s this ‘discoverability’ (does such a word exist?) that’s causing people to re-evaluate things for a moment.
It doesn’t really help matters that Facebook restricted access to a tiny number of US users while in beta phase, especially given the big song and dance they gave about how it was an “amazing new product”. So there’s inevitably a lot of misinformation from people without any hands-on access to the service (and I include myself in that camp). The inherent problem with this invite-only approach is that it gives everyone plenty of time to digest the scare stories, take action by locking down their privacy or worse still deactivate their accounts. Any significant rush towards privacy and un-sharing will serve only to severely undermine the core value of Graph Search in the short term, which could be disastrous But Facebook will have to address these specific issues head-on if they’re going to make it both a valuable and comfortable experience for users.
If you want to understand more about Graph Search basics check out my Smart Insights post where I attempt to explain in simple terms what it is and how it might affect marketers. Over the coming weeks I’ll be adding my own random thoughts on Graph Search here on my personal blog, plus guest blogging the ‘meatier’ stuff over at Smart Insights.
Do let me know what you think of Graph Search in the comments – the good, bad or ugly. Love to hear others’ opinions.