Facebook 'Graph Search' feature takes social media connectivity too far

 

Lauren Buckley
Opinions Editor

 

While I have to give immense credit to Mark Zuckerberg for spiraling our world into the new, incredibly life-changing realm of social media with his invention of Facebook, I think he has taken things a little too far with his new proposal of “Graph Search.”

With this new feature that will be slowly released to the public in the upcoming months, Facebook users will be able to search the common interests and “likes” of their friends without having to click on every single individual’s timeline. For example, I could use Graph Search to find all of my friends that go to the same university. I could even find every Facebook friend of mine on campus that “likes” a particular musical artist that I also like.

An article from ABC news explained Zuckerberg’s new feature as “turning some of the personal information people have shared on Facebook into a powerful searchable database.”

While I certainly respect the efforts toward new innovations that are being developed to make our online social lives even more personal and interconnected, I am a bit wary of adding even more opportunities for invasions of privacy on the Internet.

Graph Search claims to be very privacy conscious since content is individualized to specific audiences of people, but Facebook still has access to an astronomical amount of data and users’ personal information. Does it scare anyone else to be constantly making public declarations of our interests, life events, friends and thoughts to Facebook? By doing this we will never be able to escape from other people seeking to know what we are up to and what we like and don’t like at every moment of the day.

Most importantly, I think when things become too specialized to people’s individual interests we become very narrow-minded. For example, people who are extremely politically conservative or liberal probably specialize their cable news programs or newspapers to the one that suits their affiliation and agrees with their opinions. If we are now able to specifically surround ourselves with people that “like” the same things that we do, how will we branch out and experience other people who are different from us and bring other interests to the table?

Also, I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t “like” everything that I actually like in real life on Facebook. I really like coffee, but I haven’t “liked” coffee on Facebook since that just seems unnecessary. With Graph Search, maybe one of my friends will want to go out for coffee, search for “friends who like coffee,” and when my name doesn’t come up, I won’t get an invitation.

Maybe novelties like Graph Search that allow for specific and personalized information at the click of a button is the way of the future, but I’m not ready to give into the intrusion just yet.

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