‘Mothers of Catholics from Italy who like Durex’ and other compromising graph searches
Just over a week since Facebook launched its Open Graph Search tool and controversy inevitably abounds over privacy issues.
Despite Facebook making it very clear that the function draws only on data publicly available, it seems that people are still in the dark about their privacy settings, and just what is acceptable to share with the world.
Technology commentator Tom Scott has highlighted this with Tumblr blog, Actual Facebook Graph Searches. Here, he demonstrates how easy it is to unearth compromising information on people across the globe, ranging from slightly creepy ‘single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk!’ to ‘Islamic men interested in men who live in Tehran, Iran’ (where homosexuality is severely persecuted).
Other searches include those of self-declared racists, cheaters and ‘people living in China and like (banned) Falun Gong’; all compromising and potentially serious stuff, which people are happy to laud to the world.
While Scott acknowledges that the search results could be unreliable (thanks to ‘ironic liking’ and younger users listing friends as family members), he sensibly warns: “If it’d be awkward if it was put on a screen in Times Square, don’t put it on Facebook.”