Facebook users should check their privacy settings if they want to limit the people who can search every post or status update they have ever made, online security and technology bloggers say, following an upgrade to Facebook’s Graph Search.
Facebook announced Monday that its Graph Search – a search tool available to some English-language users, mostly in the U.S. – has been upgraded to allow users to search status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. Previously, the feature could only search people, photos, places and interests.
“Suddenly everything we’ve written on Facebook isn’t just clunkily navigable from our profiles. It can be searched by anyone with permission to see it,” wrote blogger Josh Constine on the technology news site TechCrunch, following Facebook’s announcement.
“Your bitter posts from your college library, silly comments on friends’ wedding photos, and dispatches from distant vacation check-ins can all be distilled from the rest of your content.”
Facebook noted that users will only be able to share content that has been shared with them – that is, content shared with friends only can only be searched by those friends, but posts that are shared publicly can be searched by people you are not friends with.
Facebook said the expanded search will be rolled out gradually, and will initially only be available to some of the people who currently have Graph Search.
However, “you can still swab the deck in preparation for whatever mess might spill over once everybody gets the ability to search for every Facebook thing you've ever done,” suggested technology writer Lisa Vaas on the Naked Security blog run by internet security company Sophos.
Here are some seven ways to protect your privacy on Facebook now that Graph Search has been expanded: