Facebook Search: 5 Privacy Fixes - InformationWeek

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12/9/2014
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Facebook Search: 5 Privacy Fixes

Facebook's search engine, Graph Search, makes it easier for friends to find old posts buried in your profile. Here are five ways you can review your content and adjust your privacy settings.

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The long-forgotten Facebook posts, pictures, and links buried deep in your profile are now easier to find. On Monday, the social network announced new capabilities for Graph Search, its internal search engine, and finally extended it to mobile after nearly two years in beta.

Facebook introduced Graph Search (which it just rebranded Facebook Search) in January 2013, but it only supported certain search phrases. You could ask it to find "friends who live in San Francisco" or "friends who work for Microsoft," but it couldn't dig deeper into your or your friends' posts. The information that Graph Search surfaced was largely based on information from your profile.

All that changed with its latest updates: Facebook Search now lets you search your and your friends' old posts for keyword-based updates, links, pictures, comments, and videos. The social network also extended its search function to iPhones. Both updates will roll out to users this week, Facebook said.

"You've told us the most important thing is being able to find posts you've seen before, and now you can," Tom Stocky, Facebook's vice president of search, wrote in a blog post. "With a quick search, you can get back to a fun video from your graduation, a news article you've been meaning to read, or photos from your friend's wedding last summer."

[Catch up on the latest Facebook tweaks. Read Facebook: 10 New Changes That Matter.]

The updates to Facebook Search mean that it's easier for you -- and your friends -- to unearth those posts from five or 10 years ago, for better or for worse. Here's what you need to know about Facebook Search and your privacy.

Facebook Search doesn't change any of your privacy settings, and it won't let others find your posts unless you've explicitly shared something with them.

For example, if you set the audience of a photo album to a particular friends list, only the people on that list will see those pictures in search results. Conversely, if you set your privacy settings for some posts to public, anyone who searches for it could find it. It's important to note, too, that if you're tagged in a friend's update or photo, you could appear in their friends' searches, as well.

Though Facebook Search can be quite useful -- for finding a link you posted months ago or searching for a restaurant your friend recommended last week, for example -- it can also pose problems, especially for early adopters with years of posts to comb through. Here are a few ways you can review what's searchable.

1. Review your posts
You can use your Activity Log to review everything you've posted. You can access your Activity Log by clicking the small down-arrow at the upper right corner of a Facebook page. Once you're there, click Your Posts on the left-side menu of that page. This will show you the comments you've made, links you've shared, photos you've uploaded, etc.

To drill down further, use the timeline slider on the right to jump to a particular month or year. You can also use the search bar at the top to sort your

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Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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