Facebook Graph Search: Awesome or Creepy for College Students?

By Marissa Kameno, Graduate Student at Quinnipiac University

Facebook has been rolling out a new update that will give users expanded search capabilities above specific pages and friends. With Graph Search, users can filter all of Facebook’s content by location, interest, demographic information and other factors to gain infinitely more knowledge through search.

Search queries can range from "Restaurants near me" to "Photos of me and (name here)," which seemingly allows for unlimited stalking potential. From spying on new photos of your ex and his new "girlfriend" (we use that term loosely … she’s obviously a bimbo) to scoping out which of your friends is as obsessed with "Teen Mom" as you are.

Facebook has given you control of the universe (finally). But if you still feel a little guilty using this new feature, let me tell you why this isn’t so creepy.

1. This information was always available; it just wasn’t as easy to access

Remember "Friendship Pages?" They replaced the "View Wall-to-Wall" option and allowed you to see all of the photos, comments and links shared between you and your BFF. They were most convenient when reminiscing (or when trying to remember if you posted on the wall of that random girl from your freshman dorm for her birthday last year or not). They also allowed you to see the entire friendship history of two other people. Now, we’ve moved that functionality into the search bar.

2. There is a ton of value in this feature

Let’s be honest, everyone has Facebook open 90 percent of the time. What started off as great platform for not only catching up with friends has become an essential tool for researching products and companies through Facebook brand pages. So the geniuses at Facebook are bringing you more of the information you leave Facebook to look for like nearby businesses. Unlike Yelp, which displays reviews from people you don’t know, Facebook will show you restaurants that your friends like. As the feature advances, we imagine that personalized searches based on friend interests will expand as well.

3. Privacy settings haven’t been touched

With this update, absolutely nothing has been altered in regard to your privacy. Hidden photos are safe from search, and only your carefully chosen public persona will viewable to lurkers. Although if you’re embarrassed about the number of reality TV show personalities you follow, now might be the time to be more selective about hitting the “Like” button.

What do you think? Do you love this new search functionality?

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