“Married Men Who Like Prostitutes” is juicy search term and the results can wreck marriages, careers and lives.
This is one of the Facebook Graph searches UK tech commentator Tom Scott posted on his Actual Searches on Facebook Tumblr site which lists, mercifully anonymised, the results.
What should worry anybody who uses Facebook is that this data has been in the system all along, advertisers for instance have been able to target their marketing based on exactly this information, Graph Search just makes it quicker and easier to access. This is why you should be careful of what you like and who you friend online.
Tom Scott has a terrific Ignite London presentation which looks at just how vulnerable an individual is by over sharing online. In I know what you did five minutes ago, Tom finds an individual, discovers his mother’s maiden name and phone number all within two minutes.
Facebook isn’t the only service we should be careful of, it just happens to be the one we overshare data with the most. When you start stitching together social media services with government and corporate databases then a pretty comprehensive picture can be made of a person’s likes and preferences.
The best we can hope for in such a society is that picture is accurate, fair and doesn’t cast us in too unfavourable a light.
In same cases though that data can be dangerous, if not fatal.
As potential employers, spouses and the media can easily access this information, it might be worthwhile unliking obnoxious, racist and downright stupid stuff. There’s a very good chance you’ll be asked about them.