Facebook's Graph Search bars adults snooping for minors

In an effort to quell privacy fears, the social network discusses rules on how its search tool displays results for users under the age of 18.

Facebook's Graph Search. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Facebook is taking preventative measures to make sure parents don't get up in arms about their children's privacy when Graph Search is rolled out to the public.

The social network said today in a blog post that it implemented specific Graph Search rules for teenagers. These rules dictate that if an adult does a search that could display a minor's location or age, the only results that will be returned are that person's friends. If a minor is searching, only friends and friends of friends also between the ages of 13 and 17 will be shown.

Facebook launched Graph Search in beta in January. Seen as the social network's search tool, it offers users new ways to uncover people, places, photos, and interests that have been buried alive inside the social network. However, it also exposes a copious amount of personal data that members may not realize is available for public scrutiny.

The company has been working to quell users' privacy fears over Graph Search. It has answered questions and offered insight on how users can control their audience by adjusting their "likes," managing who can see friend and family lists, and how to review tagged photos.

In today's blog post, Facebook addressed a couple of other ways to control what will be shared on Graph Search:

Manage Your Activity Log: Activity log makes it easy to see the things you've posted on Facebook, make changes to the audience of past photos and other posts, and choose what appears on your Timeline. We recently announced some new tools that make it easier to take action on multiple photos, such as untagging them, or requesting that they are removed with one click. If you are ever concerned who can see content you have posted or shared on Facebook, review it on your Activity Log.

Review About Me: In addition to your Activity Log, review the 'About' tab to check any basic info you have shared with others on your profile, such as your current city, your workplace, Pages you like, or your education. The same people who can see this info on your profile can search for this info about you. Check this section to make sure you are comfortable with the audience you have chosen to share this information with.

Facebook's Graph Search is only available to a small number of users right now but should roll out to the general public later this year.

 

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