We are, as you may have guessed, not the uber-tech guys who comprehend everything that comes out of Silicon Valley. And given our predilection towards social media (and by that, we’re referring to our senior fashion writer Norman Tan), there’s a plethora of information on us on Facebook. So thanks to Graph Search, the new technology just announced by Facebook, it’s gonna be a lot easier to search for friends, acquaintances and random connections who have the same interests as you do. Unfortunately, because of the way tagging works in the internet, those results may not always sound the best. Humorous photos, “fight cruelty” campaigns that you’ve come out in support of, and of course, the numerous “Like if you are against various acts” campaigns that are on Facebook. Thanks to Graph Search and Facebook’s one-way understanding of “Liking” things, your future employer (and by the way, 80% of all employers today check on their employees and potential hirees on Facebook) will think you “Like” violence towards animals, binge eating and drinking among other activities.
The theory in name is good: a search engine that neatly ties in with your social media so you can see what your friends like, are checking out, restaurants they like going to, etc. But it’s also the perfect stalker tool.
Ironically, the one way to curate your profile so that you don’t appear like some sort of backwater bigot, is to censor yourself which restricts the Graph Search function, the very purpose of which was to make finding people and connections easier. That, or resist the need to click Like on every photo you come across. In the long run, we may all thank Zuckerberg and Co for helping to rein in trigger-happy Facebookers who have the reflex instinct to hit that thumbs-up icon even before they’ve looked at the article. Here are some things you can do, in the meantime.
1. Hit the lock button next to your name on the top right of the page. That’s the privacy settings icon. Click on ‘See More Settings’.
2. Under Privacy, click on the “Limit the audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline” and select “Limit Past Posts”. This will restrict the people who can view your past posts and thus search for them to your friends, who already know you well enough that when you hit “Like” on that three-legged kitty, you’re not encouraging cruelty to animals.
3. Under “Who can look me up”, disable the function for search engines to link to your timeline.
In Timeline and Tagging, feel free to restrict tagged posts and photos to only friends who can see them. Switch on the function to review posts and photos that you’ve been tagged in before they are permitted.
Of course, if you’re a free-wheeling, cannot-be-bothered gent who prefers to put his life out there for all to see, then we have to say, kudos. But before you do, check out some of the examples that have been circulated around the Internet, from the beta testers of Facebook’s Graph Search. Courtesy of GIzmodo and a ton of other sites. This is what happens when you try to turn the full range of human emotions and experiences into a search engine algorithm.