Facebook has laid to rest apprehensions about privacy of children and teenagers with regards to the newest search function, the Graph Search. In a blog post, Facebook has explained that it will help protect information about teenagers from snoopy perverts who are thinking of using Graph Search.

Facebook has clarified that users will no longer be able to search for queries that specifically identify minors – users under the age of 18, as a blanket rule – or their location using Graph Search. Facebook assured teenagers and their parents that their privacy was of utmost importance to the site.

Pedobear thwarted again! But for how long? (Image Credits: TechCrunch)

Pedobear thwarted again! But for how long? (Image Credits: TechCrunch)

In the blog post, Facebook wrote, “On Facebook, many things teens are likely to do – such as adding information to their timelines or sharing status updates – can only be shared with a maximum of Friends of Friends.” Additionally, Graph searches that could identify minor users or their locations will be available, but only to their friends or friends of friends who themselves are between the ages of 13 and 17.
In a similar vein, Facebook also cautioned its users to “use good judgement and share responsibly” when it comes to using the website. The social networking giant emphasised on the use and power of the Activity Log that every user has access to.

The log can be used to view every single activity that you have ever made on Facebook. All your photos, shared posts, posts you have been tagged can be seen in this log. You can also see who the post is visible to and choose which of them appear in your Timeline.

Facebook had recently announced some new tools that make it easier for users to take action on multiple images, such as untagging them, or requesting that they are removed with one click.

The blog also urges users to review “About Me” from their timelines. Using the tool, you can figure out who can view information about your profile or how it looks to the public. Information about your work place, places you've studied at, relationship status and pages you like can all be controlled from here. The blog also reminds users that they have the option to report abusive content at any time.

Privacy issues related to Graph Search has been a cause of tension between the social networking website and users. The gradual rollout of the Graph Search has probably helped Facebook in containing the concerns over privacy that could have exploded into a messy situation.

Last month, it was revealed that Facebook had quietly removed the ability to opt your profile out of search results on the site. Facebook changed its privacy policy a month before the launch of the Graph Search in a way that users cannot choose to stay off the search results.
The Graph Search relies on results gathered from users on Facebook for it to be effective. Users can search for “People in my city who like Game of Thrones” and there is a good chance your name might pop up in the results if you have indicated that you indeed like the show. This will happen despite the fact that you may have requested your profile be off search results on Facebook when someone searches for you.

While protecting teenagers' privacy proactively will get Facebook brownie points, it's going to be a long time before users stop being suspicious about Facebook messing up privacy issues like it has in the past.

You can join the waiting list for Graph Search by clicking over here.

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