Just When You Thought Facebook Couldn’t Get Any Scarier . . .

Just when you thought Facebook couldn’t get any scarier, they rolled out “graph search,” a more detailed way of searching for people, photos, and anything else posted on Facebook.

According to How to Avoid Digital Life Doom with Facebook Graph Search, an article by Tom Mason on a Trend Micro blog (Trend Micro is the virus protection I use), this new graph search is so powerful that anyone, even if they are not your FB friend or a friend of a friend, can find out enough information about you to steal your identity — name, date of birth, where you live, even if you’re at home at a particular moment. People can find out what apps you are using. They (or you) can search for people by city, age, gender, availability, and build a potential dating pool.

This doesn’t worry me because I want people to find me. Not me personally where I live, but me online. I want them to know I am an author, my books are published by Second Wind Publishing, and I have a blog. (Well, several blogs, to be honest.) I’ve been careful about what information I post online. I use a pseudonymous birthday, don’t post my address, leave my hometown ambiguous, remove tags from any photo I am tagged in, hide the pages I’ve “liked”, but other than that, my life is an open book. Or should I say an open blog? I mostly use this blog as a personal journal, posting my thoughts and feelings, the ups and downs of my life’s journey, even my hopes (or lack thereof) for the future.

I don’t really worry about “big brother” watching me. Anyone who did surveillance of any kind on me would be bored to tears after a few days. (That’s depressing, actually. Shouldn’t a woman sliding down the banister of middle age have at least some secrets she doesn’t want anyone to know? Maybe that should be a goal for my remaining decades — learn how to lead a mysterious life, full of intrigue with secrets that need to be protected at all costs.)

Be sure to check out Tom’s article if you want to know to protect yourself from “graph search” abuse.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

8 Responses to “Just When You Thought Facebook Couldn’t Get Any Scarier . . .”

  1. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Identity theft is big business in some South East Asian countries. I still get the occasional landline phone call asking me to give money and my own personal details in order to save my computer. It is a scam that’s still tried every now and then. Sure I can see how facebook might well be used.

  2. BloggersTech Says:

    Reblogged this on Blog of an e-marketer by Main Uddin and commented:
    Google and Facebook deal in data. Our intimate data, information about ourselves from sexual quirks to why we hate our boss to our divorce plans. We hand over such secrets willingly and gleefully to online networks and search engines as if it were over coffee with a close friend in our kitchen. Yet within these social networks, which give us the false impression of privacy, many people are watching, analyzing and using the details of our lives. And our revelation has serious consequences.

  3. Kathy Says:

    I deleted my FB account today – can’t stand it! As for data collection, I remember in the 90s when my coworker said that in the future she saw a time when we’d be sharing information from one person to another. I assumed we’d continue to get paid for that information because that’s what we dealt with for a living. Little did I know we would all hand over this information willingly for other people to benefit monetarily from it and we’d get a lot of aggravation. As for selling books, I don’t think social media and blogs have much to do with it. Just my humble opinion.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I’m impressed that you deleted your FB account. I leave up all my profiles even when I stop visiting a site, just in case someone came looking for me, but I’m afraid you’re right — I don’t think social media and blogs have much to do with selling. At least not for me. Occcasionally, of course, I sell a book to someone I met via social media or this blog, but generally they don’t make any difference. I wish I knew what did.

  4. A Retro Writer Speaks Out About Social Media | Two4 Disney Says:

    […] have you seen this article about the new highly invasive Graph Search for Facebook? Thanks to Bertram’s blog, I’m even happier I deleted my account yesterday. FB is far more trouble than it’s […]

  5. Ree` Edwards Says:

    Well, try, try again as the saying goes…(my computer crashed twice while trying to write and send this. (Hmm….)
    I left a comment on Mr. Mason’s site and thought I’d share a part of it with you as well.
    Many years ago I had a Facebook account and seemed no matter what I did to keep things private – IF a person is ‘mean
    spirited’ or deviant enough to want to find all there is to find about you? They can do it once you are ON-LINE! Facebook just makes it a little easier for them. (Yes, I left Facebook and never looked back.)
    Once on the internet nothing is sacred regarding personal information. The same reason I have never, and will never, bank on-line or on the ‘smart phones’ that so many have now. (I still carry a ‘dumb’ one when out alone, for personal security purposes and nothing more.) No matter how many firewalls, filter’s, or other security devices you may use, if someone wants to find out something (or everything) about you – they can.
    Case in point: The so called ‘smart phones’ that all have recently heard about and concerning OUR government. Surely we are not so foolish as to think that any time any one wants to place something out there for all to see that we delude ourselves into thinking that they cannot take it farther? Just use as much precaution as is possible and don’t share personal information that you wouldn’t share with the world at large.
    A sad, sad commentary on the way this “new world” works now. Even worse for one who used to be a very trusting person. I don’t say anything on-line that I wouldn’t say to anyone personally and password protect/(copy write) all of my writings. (Just slows them up a little.)
    George Orwell (“1984”) was way ahead of his time… God help us all.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Yes, exactly. FB just makes it easier, partly because for most people, that’s where they post their private lives — photos, status updates, vacation plans, illnesses, etc. And all these innocuous posts add up to an entire life.

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