Facebook’s Graph Search makes it possible for any user to perform detailed searches of posts that have been made. This new search tool is gradually being rolled out (it is not yet available worldwide) and new options are being added all the time; the latest update makes it possible to search status updates, photos, check-ins and comments.
Before the feature does go global, or if you would like to help protect your privacy if it is already available to you, there are a number of settings that you should check to ensure that you are not inadvertently sharing your private data with the rest of the world. The data that could be unearthed using Graph Search is quite terrifying, so it’s well worth making sure that your account is locked down.
By default, virtually everything you have ever posted to Facebook is available to Graph Search. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to regain control and ensure that everyone in the world is not able to search your updates and find out what you have been up to.
The quickest and easiest way to limit what people are able to see from your account is to place a blanket setting in place that covers all of the posts you have made in the past. Click the Privacy shortcut button to the upper right hand corner of the Facebook page and then click the See More Settings link from the menu that appears.
You will now see a number of options in the “Who can see my stuff?” section.
Click the link labelled Limit Past Posts and then click the Limit Old Posts button in the new section that appears. This will change the status of everything you have ever posted so that it can only be seen by friends.
While you’re here, you can also choose the level of visibility that should be assigned to anything you post from this point forward. Click the Edit link to the right of the “Who can see your future posts?” at the top of the page and then use the drop down menu to choose the audience you are happy to share with.
Don’t forget that you can also limit what people are able to find out about you via Facebook, such as where you are from and the sorts of things you like.
Click your name at the upper right of the age and then move to the About section of your profile. In each area of your account – Contact Information, Relationships, Photos, Music, Likes etc – click the little edit button to the upper right (it is marked with a pencil icon). Select the Edit privacy link in the menu that appears.
For each section, you can then choose the level of privacy that you would like to use by choosing who should be able to see information in this section. Click Close when you have made the necessary changes and repeat the process for each of the other sections. The same process can be used to limit access to your photos.
Don’t forget that you can also change privacy settings for individual items that you post as you post them. Just click the button to the left of the Post button and choose who should be able to see you content.
The important thing to remember on Facebook is that there is always a chance that something you post could be made available to people other than your friends list. A friend may share a photo of your with someone they know who may the share it with other people.
The only real way to ensure that your privacy is protected is to ensure that you do not post anything you would not mind anyone seeing – but the privacy options are still there as a handy backup.